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The Clockmaker, by Judge Hali- 

Vicomte de Bragelonne, by 

Dumas, 2 vols. 
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Pamela, by Richardson. 
Sir Chas.Grandison,by Richardson 
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Twenty Years After, by Dumas. 
Taking of the Bastile, by Dumas. 
Tristram Shandy, and Sentimental 

Journey, by Sterne. 


By Lord LYTTON. 


Paul Clifford. 

Eugene Aram. 

Last Days of Pompeii . 


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Ernest Maltravers. 
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Jane Seton. 
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Harry Ogilvie. 

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Letty Hyde's Lovers. 

Cavaliers of Fortune. 

Second to None. 

Constable of France. 

Phantom Regiment. 

King's Own Borderers. 

The White Cockade. 

Dick Rodney. 

First Love & Last Love 
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Jack Manly. 
Only an Ensign. 
Adventures of Rob Roy 
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One in a Thousand. 

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Sir W. SCOTT. 

Guy Mannering. 
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Breaking a Butterfly. 

Sans Merci. 



The Inheritance. 



T* t 

— ies. 



W Emory University Library 






Zrc Memoriam 

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Gervase Skinner. 
Cousin William. 
Fathers and Sons. 
Author of " Guy 
Guy Livingstone. 
Barren Honour. 

Marguerite de Valois. 
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Half a Million of 


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Love Stories of English Watering 
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Golden Lion of Granpere, by An- 
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Murphy's Master, by the Author 

of " Lost Sir Massingberd." 
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Helen, by Miss Edgeworth. 
First Lieutenant's Story, by Lady 

Long. [Charles Dickens. 

Grimaldi, the Clown, Edited by 
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and the Hunchback. 
Clement Lorimer, by A. B. Reach. 
Tom Cringle's Log, by M. Scott. 
Private Life of an Eastern King. 
Adventures of Captain Hatteras, 

by Verne. 
Twenty Thousand Leagues under 

the Sea, by Verne. 
Five Weeks in a Balloon, and a 

Journey to Centre of the Earth. 
Preston Fight, by Ainsworth. 
My Love she's but a Lassie yet. 
Cross of Honour, Annie Thomas. 
The Girl he left Behind him, by 

J. M. Jephson. [Colomb. 
Hearths and Watchfires, by Col. 
City of the Sultan, by Miss Pardoe 
Jennie of the " Prince's." 
Through the Mist, Jeanie Hering. 
Tales of the Coastguard. 
Leonard Lindsay. Angus B. Reach. 
Carleton's Traits, ist series. 
2nd series. 

Published by George Routledge and Sons. 






























'iT his llolume is cEnsmbci) 

Kensington, A fay 1S65. 













"pickford's" S3 


MY EXCURSION AGENT . , • ■ . 63 




TOM MOODY AND CO. .... 89 




GUNNING . . 112 


the grimgribber rifle corps : we commence the 

"movement" 123 








KEN SAL GR.EEN .... .... 1 64 









































. 176 

. I9O 

. 203 

. 212 

, 226 

. 236 

• 249 
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, 280 
. 29I 

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. 377 




If, as Froissart says, we English take our pleasure sadly- 
after our fashion, it is very certain that we take it coolly. 
We will have it, be it in what shape it may, though dress- 
makers die in working against time for the preparation of 
our court robes, and bakers' lives are sacrificed to our par- 
tiality for hot rolls. But when we have got it, we think very 
little of it, and very much less of those who, some by great 
natural gifts, combined with much labour, industry, and per- 
severance, minister to the pleasure of which we make so light. 
Great actors and singers are, by a certain portion of society, 
classed with cooks, mountebanks, and horse-jockeys. " That 
man who wrote the book, you know," is the phrase by which 
Mr. Tennyson or Dr. Darwin would be designated; and 
world-renowned artists are " odd persons whom one does 
not meet about." With that wretched imposition which 
occasionally in England is known as society — that gathering 
of vapidity to each component part of which the laws 
which guide it prescribe a blank ignorance — an uncaring, 
unquestioning acceptance of matters as they stand; a horror 


of talent as low, and of unconventionally as not correct — 
with this dreary phantasm sometimes regnant among us, 
Business, however lumpy, coarse, unrefined, can be received, 
provided it be properly gilt; but Pleasure and her professors, 
however clever, bright, and decent, are under the ban. Yet 
the Business of Pleasure is carried on in the most metho- 
dical manner, is of enormous extent, employs countless 
"hands," and avails itself of all the counting-house, clerk, 
day-book, and ledger system, without which respectability 
cannot understand existence. To carry out the Business of 
English Pleasure, men and women are at this very time 
practising eight hours a day in dreary little Italian cities 
under renowned maestri, labouring against innumerable 
difficulties, privations, and disappointments, and solely 
cheered by the hope that on some future day they shall be 
permitted to minister to pleasure in London, and earn the 
meed reserved for a few such ministrants. In the Business 
of Pleasure, acres and acres of English ground, and Rhenish 
mountain, and French and Spanish plain, are set apart 
and cultivated to the highest degree of perfection ; in the 
same interest hardy Norsemen are salmon-fishing; heavy 
Westphalian boors, preposterously accoutred, are boar- 
hunting; blue-bloused Alsatian peasants are fattening bilious 
geese; dirty Russians are oiling cod-sounds. Those engaged 
in the Business of Pleasure are of various stations, of various 
temperaments, of various degrees of usefulness ; but from 
all is there required as strict honesty, punctuality, and 
fidelity, as proper and earnest a performance of their duties, 
as thorough rectitude, as in any other condition in life. 

It is my purpose in these Essays to show the inner life 
of some of those carrying on the Business of Pleasure, and 
bringing thereto as much energy, honesty, and industry, as 
great aptitude for business, as much self-abnegation, as 
much skill and talent for seizing opportunities and supplying 
promptly the public demand, and in very many cases as 


much capital, as are required in any other business. It 
may arise from the fact that I spring from parents who by 
profession were, according to a generous Act of Parliament 
only recently repealed, set forth among their fellow-men 
as "rogues and vagabonds;" but one of whom certainly 
used up his life, and killed himself at an early age, from his 
unceasing labour in a popular, an honest, an intellectual, 
but a parliamentarily-despised calling. It may be that in 
my own career I have seen that those who made it their 
business to amuse men in their leisure, had very often a 
much more difficult, and always a more thankless, task than 
those who coped with men in their active work. It may 
have been from other causes not necessary to dwell upon ; 
but I have long felt that the "butterfly" notion common 
among ordinary business people, as applied to those who 
belonged to none of the recognised professions, or whose 
trade could not be found entered in the exhaustive list in 
the Post- Office Directory, was a mistake. So that, my family 
connection with theatrical life, and my own position as a 
journalist and writer, favouring the scheme, I determined 
upon giving specimens of the inner life of some of those 
establishments where pleasure is carried on as a regular 
business and in regular business fashion ; showing, so far as 
is practicable and just, the method, manner, and expense of 
its conduct. To these I have added a few papers descrip- 
tive of the actual business details ; the cost and conduct 
of certain of the sports and pastimes of Englishmen, such 
as hunting, shooting, etc. ; the organisation of an excursion- 
agent ; the inner life of a newspaper-office ; some articles 
descriptive of the behind-the-scenes of the Volunteer move- 
ment; and some other papers illustrative of London society. 



Removing recently into a new house — a miserable per- 
formance which has once or twice fallen to my lot — I 
determined, besides giving a " general superintendence " 
(which means looking helplessly on, while stout men in 
carpet-caps balance chests-of-drawers, console-tables, and 
looking-glasses, and saying to them, perspiring, and in 
proximate danger of letting every thing drop : " Steady 
there ; mind the corner ! a-a-h ! the gilt frame ! "), I deter- 
mined on looking after my books, of which I possess a 
tolerable number, and arranging them myself. Experience 
fully carrying out all she had promised in the round-hand 
copy-slip at school, taught me this plan ; for when we made 
our former celebrated removal from Glum Street, Holstein 
Square, to Jetsam Gardens, Matilda, my maid, kindly under- 
took to " put my books straight," an effort which resulted in 
an utter impossibility of finding any work of reference, and 
in the final discovery of the third volume of Rabelais lurking 
shamefacedly behind Nelson's Fasts and Festivals. So I sat 
down on an enormous pile of volumes in the middle of the 
library-floor, and I looked at the row of empty bookcases, 
glaring in a very ghastly manner from the walls, and I began 
my task ; very seldom, however, settling more than a dozen 
books without again sitting down to peer between the leaves 


of some volume which I had not seen for a very long time. 
The)' were of all sorts: some of my father's old Charterhouse 
schoolbooks ; editions of the Classics, free from all that 
erudite annotation which has been so productive of head- 
ache to schoolboys of more recent date ; some of my own 
schoolbooks with names once familiar, now long forgotten, 
scrawled on the margin of the pages, and a fancy portrait of 
Euripides (very fancy) on the fly-leaf of the Orestes • Jones's 
early poems, Twilight Musings, with my name inscribed on 
the title-page in Jones's own hand, " from his devoted 
friend and cue-fellow." Jones is now principal vitriol- 
thrower on the Scalpel literary newspaper, and is popularly 
believed to have written that review of his devoted friend 
and cue-fellow's last book of travels which caused the 
devoted f. and c.-f. to spend an evening rolling on his 
hearthrug in agonies of rage and despair. Here are other 
given books : Manna in the Wilderness, or the Smitten £ock f 
presented to me at " Crismass 1844," as the written legend 
records, by my cousin Augustus, who was great at morality, 
but weak in orthography, and who in the next spring ran 
away and joined Herr Carlos Wilkinsoni's travelling cirque, 
after having forged his father's name to a cheque for twenty 
pounds. Here is my first copy of Shakespeare, with my 
name in faded ink, and underneath it two sets of initials in 
different handwritings, the owners of which, long separated 
by death, are, I pray Heaven, more happily reunited ; and 
here is a copy of Blugg's collected works, with the sixpenny 
label of the bookstall still sticking to it. Poor Dick Blugg, 
who combined so much capacity for writing and gin-and- 
water, and whose life was divided between a bare room 
containing a desk, a blotting-pad, an ink-bottle, and a pile 
of paper, where he did his work, and the night-houses in the 
Haymarket, where he spent his money. Other books acting 
as milestones in one's life : copy of Mr. Thomas Moore's 
Lai la Rookh, with the " young gazelle " bit very much 


pencil-scored ; Byron's Giaour, Childe Harold, and works 
generally, with marginal pencilled references expressive of 
my entire concurrence in the noble poet's views of human 
nature (by the date it must have been just after J. M. 
married that stockbroker) ; and a copy of the Vauxhatt 
Comic Songster, with the portrait and autograph of a once- 
celebrated comic singer. Milestones indeed ! Where is 
the comic singer ? Dust and ashes ! The Yorick of the 
orchestra, with his white waistcoat and his thumbs in his 
armholes, his queer merry eyes and thin pursed lips, with 
his riddles and his jokes and his tol-de-rol choruses — dust 
and ashes ! And Vauxhall ? with its thousand of extra 
lamps, and its gritty arcades, and its ghastly Italian walk, 
and its rickety firework gallery, and its mildewy Eve at the 
fountain, and Joel II Diavolo's terrific descent with the 
crackers in his heels, and the skinny fowls and the dry ham 
and the rack-punch, and the enclosure outside Mr. Wardell's 
house where all the hansom cabs were inextricably mixed 
together — where are these ? On what the bills used to call 
the " royal property " (at this moment I can plainly see the 
sticking-plaster portrait of Simpson, life-size, by the pay- 
place) are reared now suburban -villas, wherein the young 
soap-boiler tosses his son and heir, or the bone-crusher's 
head-clerk reads the American news with calm contempt. No ! 
the name may remain, but the place has vanished for ever. 

" Vanished for ever " is a dreary phrase ; but then I 
recollect that there is yet a place of amusement for 
summer-nights, and that those lively persons who "to 
Ranelagh went and Vauxhall " may, if they have a mind 
(and legs) to do so, go to what I should imagine must be a 
much pleasanter place than either of them — to Cremorne ; 
and when this idea came into my head, I remembered that 
during the previous week I had been at Cremorne, and I 
put down my Cotnic Songster, and lay back on the pile of 
books, thinking on all I had heard there. 


Heard at Cremorne ! What do people hear at 
Cremorne? The band and the peripatetic brass instruments 
(which indeed are rather too much heard), and the rumble of 
the bowls in the American Saloon, and the crack of the rifles 
discharged by the sportsmen at the little tin beasts which 
slowly revolve, and the whizzing rush of the rockets, and the 
roar of the final firework explosion (which must be so 
comforting to any neighbour suffering with sick-headache, 
and just in his first sleep) ; and sometimes, I am given to 
understand, there may be heard by young couples at 
Cremorne the voice of love ! I heard all these except the 
last (but then I am not young, and on this occasion I was 
not a couple) ; but I heard something else. For as I 
wandered about the grounds and looked in at the open 
coffee-room windows, and lounged into the theatre, staring 
for a few minutes at the ballet, as I noticed the thoroughly 
trim and neat appearance of the gardens, as I marked 
the extensive preparations for the fireworks, and as I 
endeavoured to dodge the rather meandering steps of a 
gentleman in armour whom I encountered in a back-walk, 
whose vizor rendered him doubtful as to his eyesight, and 
whose shining greaves rendered him unsteady on his legs — 
I began to ponder on the magnitude of the undertaking, 
and to wonder how the various wheels in the great whole 
worked with such unceasing regularity. Here must be large 
capital involved, very many people engaged, constant 
supervision exercised, and all for the production of Pleasure. 
Your " man of business " (who, by the way, when he is 
that, and nothing more, is horribly offensive) would sneer at 
the application of the word to the conduct of such a place 
as this ; and yet I have no doubt that there is as much 
labour, capital, and energy employed here as in many 
establishments whose names are household words in the 
circle of a mile from the Exchange. Pleasure has its 
business, which requires to be carried on with as great tact, 


earnestness, energy, forethought, and exactness as any other; 
and when patience, prudence, and perseverance are brought 
to bear in carrying on the business of pleasure, the result is 
Fortune. When the business of pleasure is carried on as 
pleasure itself, no one is pleased, and the result to the 
speculator is Bankruptcy. 

The more I thought ot the subject the more I 
wondered ; so that presently encountering the master-mind 
and governing spirit of the establishment, I requested to 
have some details of its cost and management: he pleasantly 
consented, and " while the men and maids were dancing, 
and the folk were mad with glee," I sat calmly discussing 
statistics, and gleaned the following information anent the 
wherewithal necessary for carrying out the business of 
pleasure at Cremorne. 

So quietly, orderly, and well is this place conducted, and 
With such sensible regard to the interest of its frequenters 
(who, by the way, are of all classes, ranging from old women 
and children who come for an early tea and a stroll in the 
grounds, who are possessed with wild desires to see the dogs 
and monkeys, and listen to the band, down to gentlemanly 
gentlemen who eat suppers, and are far too grand to express 
their desire to see anything at all), that, by its non-frequenters 
and by a huge class of amiable people who look upon any 
amusement as emanating from Moloch and beckoning 
towards the gallows, it would never be heard of, were it not 
for the practical wit of certain exquisite humorists, who 
annually mark certain festive days in London's calendar by 
breaking the proprietor's glasses and the waiters' heads. 
This amiable class may perchance be strong in its notions 
of the diffusion of capital and the employment of labour ; it 
may be always publishing pamphlets in which these subjects 
are paraded, in which it is clearly proved that this wretched 
country is on its way to destruction, and that the sooner 
every person with natural strength or mechanical knowledge 


is on his way to some hitherto unheard-of land — there to set 
up that log-hut, and to ply that axe which have stood the 
poetasters in such good stead — the better for himself and for 

The gardens of Cremorne are twenty-two acres in extent, 
are prettily laid out, are filled with brilliant flowers, and are 
kept with as much care as those of the Horticultural Society. 
Indeed, of the quiet daylight frequenters of the place, were 
they not properly attended to, there would be a serious 
falling off. During the season the services of fifteen 
gardeners are constantly required, in rolling paths, mowing 
lawns, and attending to the beds. Previous to opening, 
twenty carpenters, six scene-painters, twelve gasmen, two 
women to sew canvas, four men to repair the roof, and five 
house-painters, take possession of the outside of Cremorne 
and its appurtenances ; while two upholsterers, fifteen ward- 
robe-makers, and ten property-men look up old material, 
and prepare for internal decoration. Then the literary 
gentleman attached to the establishment sits down in his 
cabinet to compose the announcement of approaching 
festivities, and eight bill-posters convey the result of his 
cogitations to an admiring public. 

In the season of 1863 the Gardens opened early in the 
spring with a dog-show ; and the estimate for the prepara- 
tion — for gardeners, painters, roofers, carpenters, smiths, 
labourers, and gravel-diggers — amounted to ,£3500, inde- 
pendent of the cost of material, galvanised iron, timber, 
ironmongery, wire-work, etc., about ^2000 more. While the 
exhibition was open, the expenses of keepers, police, atten- 
dants, and music, were about ^300 a week, and a very large 
sum was expended in advertisements and prizes. This dog- 
show, however, was an extraneous affair, not calculated in 
the regular round of expense. In the same category was the 
tournament, to produce which the services of three hundred 
'' supers," six armourers, thirty-two horses, and ten grooms 


were specially engaged. When the Gardens are open for 
the season, the regular staff is very large and very costly. 
It comprises sixteen money-takers, seven gasmen, two scene- 
painters, three house-painters, one resident master-carpenter, 
and seventeen wardrobe men and women. The stage 
department requires the services of twenty-five carpenters to 
work the scenes, a prompter, a hundred members of the 
corps de ballet, two principal dancers, three principal panto- 
mimists, several vocalists, and a turncock, without whose aid 
the fairy fountains would not flow. Add to this a firework 
manufacturer with seven assistants, fifteen riders, and 
several horses in the circus ; a set of twenty dogs and 
monkeys, with their master, in the Octagon Theatre ; a set 
of marionettes and their master, in another part of the 
grounds ; twenty-five members of the regular orchestra and 
two peripatetic bands ; a gentleman who delivers a lecture 
on the Australian explorers ; three regular policemen, and 
on extra nights six others ; and you have some notion of 
what the management of Cremorne Gardens has to meet on 
Saturday mornings, as the cost of the amusement it provides. 

The hotel department, belonging to the same proprietary, 
is, of course, worked by a totally different staff. The in- 
door division has the services of a manager and house- 
keeper, fifteen barmaids, two head-waiters, eighteen other 
waiters, a booking-clerk, two hall-keepers, and three porters. 
The outer division is managed by a head-waiter with fifty 
subordinates. In the kitchen there are four professed cooks 
with assistants, a kitchen-boy, a vegetable cook, two scullery- 
men, two bakers and confectioners, who are all overlooked by 
a larder clerk There is also a man whose sole business is 
the production of soda-water and ginger-beer ; and there is 
a cowkeeper. 

A few years ago supper was the great meal at Cremorne; 
but under the present management dinners have been made 
a feature of attraction in the programme ; and the number 


of dinners is now large. You can dine at various prices, 
and have almost anything you like to order, for the com- 
missariat is on the most extensive scale. Regarding the 
consumption of food at this single establishment at the 
height of the season, the following list may be taken as a 
daily average : six salmon, twenty pairs of soles, twelve 
gallons of whitebait, one turbot, twenty-five pounds of eels, 
twenty dozen of lobsters, twenty gallons of shrimps, one 
saddle of mutton, one haunch, six quarters of lamb and six 
legs, six joints of roast-beef, two fillets of veal, fifty pounds 
of pressed beef, six dozen pigeon-pies, twenty-four dozen 
fowls, twelve dozen ducks, twelve tongues, six hams, forty 
pounds of bacon, two tubs of butter, two sacks of flour, and 
two hundred eggs. Of vegetable produce, the daily con- 
sumption is fifty quarts of peas, three dozen cauliflowers, 
one hundred-weight of potatoes, twenty score lettuce, one 
hundred heads of beetroot, thirty bunches of turnips and 
carrots, and six hundred bundles of watercress. Six hundred- 
weight of ice, two hundredweight of sugar, and twenty 
pounds of tea, are also consumed daily. 

Such is the internal economy of Cremorne, confessedly 
the prettiest and best-managed public night-garden in 
Europe. That it is not so lively as the Chaumiere, Mabille, 
Asnieres, or the Closerie des Lilas, must be ascribed to the 
different character of its frequenters. We have no Counts 
Chicard, Brididis, Mogadors, or Frisettes (I am laudator 
temporis arti here ! it is years since I was in a French public 
night-garden) among us. I do not think that loss is to be 
regretted. I know that in " mossoo " visiting us is to be 
found the most enthusiastic admirer of Cremorne. 



When you invite a friend to " dinner," before specifying the 
when and where, you leave him in a pleasant state of 
uncertainty as to your intentions and his chances of pleasure. 
You may mean the domestic dinner, than which, when well 
done, nothing can be better. By well done I mean not 
more than half-a-dozen people, all of them knowing and 
understanding each other ; soup, fish, joint, a couple of 
entrees, a bird, a pudding, and some macaroni ; a neat- 
handed Phyllis instead of a stupid waiter ; sound wine, and 
a small cigar before going up to the ladies ; where you have 
some really good music, and get away by eleven. This is 
doing it well : it can be badly done in many different ways. 
In the "pot-luck" style: a bit of hard loin-of-mutton 
swimming in coagulated grease, dank dabs of greens, mild 
beeswax of cheese, warm flat Romford ale, two glasses of 
fiery sherry, and a tumbler of diluted turpentine called 
whisky-and-water. In the grand style : where the host and 
hostess pass two wretched hours in telegraphing to stupid 
servants ; where the funny friend will tell the 7nal-a-propos 
anecdote which cuts the most-to-be-made-up-to member of 
the party to the quick; where the guests all hate you for being 
pretentious and endeavouring to excel them ; where con- 
versation is on the revolving-light principle— occasionally 


bright, frequently hazy, generally dull; and where it is 
difficult to know which are most delighted when the enter- 
tainment is at an end — the people who were so pleased to 
see their friends, or those who have passed such a charming 
evening. There is the club-dinner : where you have a grand 
opportunity of airing your importance, and bringing your 
social status to bear heavily on your unoffending guest. 
And there is the tavern-dinner, to which you tell him you 
take him that " we may have a pleasant, free, jolly evening, 
old fellow, and be out of the way of all club formalities." 
And then there is the Greenwich dinner, which is of itself a 
thing apart, and at the mention of which the invited one 
beams with delight. 

For anyone who knows anything about a Greenwich 
dinner knows he cannot be asked to a bad one. The 
whitebait get large in July ; the salmon-cutlets can have 
been sent up and sent down, and sent up again, too often ; 
the duck may be tough ; the waiting — notably when there 
are three City companies, the staff of a daily newspaper, and 
a hundred people in the coffee-room, all clamouring and 
dining at once — somewhat tiresome ; but, on the whole, 
you cannot dine badly at Greenwich. 

The mere fact of dining out of town is agreeable. It is 
a hot staring June day ; the heat reflected from the pave- 
ment permeates everywhere ; the air is still and sirocco- 
like ; one side of the way — that on which the sun is shining 
— is deserted ; while on the other, those men who are 
strong-minded enough are mopping their bald foreheads and 
carrying their hats boldly in their hands. Vagabond dogs 
with lolling tongues, unpleasantly suggestive of hydrophobia, 
loiter at the corners of the streets, and regard the legs of 
the passers-by with furtive and maniacal glances ; boys 
forget the charms of toffee, buns, and pegtops, and devote 
their pocket-money to the purchase of clinging dabs of 
nastiness known as penny ices ; butchers' shops, always 

b 2 


unpleasant to the eye, become offensive to the nose ; while 
from the gratings of the eating-houses issue a warm puthery 
steam, which turns me sick as I pass. No dinner in London 
to-day ! No hot joint, tongue-flaying cheese, lukewarm 
beer, fiery sherry. Across my brain come visions of myriads 
of fish-dishes, cool cup, ice-water, luxury — Greenwich ! 
Thither we fly, I and thou, shadowy Cleophas, to my more 
shadowy Asmodeus. What matter whether steam-rattled 
over ragged-school-containing brick arches from London 
Bridge; floated down on board Watei-man No. 3, "deal- 
built, dirty-bottomed, and carrying an inexperienced medical 
student " bound on the same errand as ourselves ; or whirled 
down in the most reckless and dust-provoking of hansoms ! 
Here we are at The Vessel ; and now to look around us. 
Outside the door stand some thirty carriages of every 
description, horseless and closely packed together : sly little 
broughams, radiant in varnish, with pink window-blinds, 
and a tiny basket strapped opposite the seat to hold the 
bouquet and gloves of the fair owner ; heavy drags, looking 
--so like superior stage-coaches without the plate and the 
letters, and with much-besilvered splinter-bars attached to the 
rails of the hind-seat; stockbrokers' high-wheeled mail- 
phaetons, all brass and lacquer and fresh garish paint ; 
roomy family clarences, dowagers' yellow-bodied chariots, 
dissipated-looking dog-carts, with the oilcloth on the sus- 
pended trap much torn and trampled by unsteady, not to 
say drunken, feet ; rakish hansoms, and even one or two 
four-wheeled cabs. 

A constant stream has been pouring in ever since we 
have been here, and when we enter the coffee-room we find 
it nearly filled. Observe that the best tables (those nearest 
the window, with the good look-out on the river) are nearly 
all occupied by solitary diners — elderly big men with bald 
heads, huge stomachs, stolid expression, and succulent pro- 
truding under-lips. These be your City merchants, your 


magnates of Lloyds' and the Exchange, your luncbers at 
Garraway's and the Jerusalem, your Gordon-Square dwellers, 
bank directors, vestry wranglers, charitable-parochial-rate 
supporters ; these be your fathers of Mudie-subscribing 
daughters, and of club smoking-room-haunting sons ; these 
be your autumnal-touring Britons, who give the notion of 
the Milor Anglais to the Parisian vaudevilliste and the Italian 
libretto-writer ; these be your " regular John Bulls," who 
live but for their business and their stomach. Go to, ye 
who say that there is no pleasure in the mere consumption 
and mastication of food ! Watch these old men : note the 
bobbing of their pendulous red cheeks, like the gills of a 
turkey-cock ; see the lighting-up of that dull fishy eye as the 
waiter advances bearing the duck and peas which follow so 
pleasantly after the course of fish ; mark the eagerness with 
which that pulpy, shaky, mottled old hand clutches the 
champagne-glass destined to cool the throat now fired with 
the devilled bait ; listen to the chuckling sound with which 
these old jaws wag o'er the melting marrowfats — and then 
say what is the summum bonum of human happiness. To 
this man you might read the sweetest poem of Tennyson, 
the most touching pathos of Dickens, and he would not ex- 
perience an emotion ; but let his potatoes be soddened or 
his gravy burnt, and you shall behold a rage worthy of 
Marino Faliero, and a grief compared to which that of 
Rachel weeping for her children was a delusion and a sham ! 

And now let us glance at the internal economy of this 
house — The Vessel. 

From the 1st of April to the 30th of September, 
Pleasure's business is in full swing here, and never allows 
the smallest relaxation. With a view to such business, and 
nothing else, The Vessel was built. On the heading of its 
bills it calls itself an hotel ; but you might search in vain 
on The Vessel's basement for the commercial-room ; you 
might pass the remainder of your life hunting without 


success for the large family bedrooms, or the stuffy 
cupboards in which bachelors are made to pass the night. 
There are no baths and no billiard-room, no quaint 
assembly-room leading up three steps at the end of the first- 
floor passage, and smelling as if the ghosts of our gavotte- 
dancing grandmothers still inhabited it. You will never 
find rows of boots with number-chalked soles standing out- 
side its chamber-doors, nor regiments of bed candlesticks 
on the hall-table; no "boots" lurks up its stairs at the chilly 
hours of the morning to call anyone who is going by the first 
train, nor has such a thing as a " breakfast order " ever 
been heard within its capacious walls. From its cellar to its 
attic The Vessel means dinner, and nothing but dinner. 
On its ground-floor are its hall, a lavatory, and the coffee- 
room with its numbered tables and its cheery look-out on 
the river. On the first-floor are the large rooms used for 
City companies, testimonial-dinners, and such-like, at which 
between two and three hundred guests often sit down 
simultaneously ; above are the smaller rooms used for 
private parties. Each of these rooms is distinguished by 
a name — the Nelson, the Beaufort, the Wellington, etc. — 
and the party in each is accredited with the dinner, wine, 
etc. ordered and consumed, in the following fashion. In 
the bar sits the booking-clerk at a desk ; behind him is a 
speaking-pipe ; at his side are two flexible tubes, one 
descending to the cellar, the other to the kitchen. Down the 
speaking-pipe comes a roar : " Wellington — ice-pudding, 
bottle of decent hock." Book-keeper gives ice-pudding 
order, but is slightly confounded about wine, so calls up: 
" Wellington ! sparkling hock, did you say ? " Answer : 
" Decent hock, gentleman said." "All right." Then down 
cellarman's tube : " Wellington — bottle hock No. 3." The 
principal cellarman has two assistants, who are despatched 
for wine while he books each order against the particular 
room named. The system of check is thus treble, and at 


the end of the evening, when accounts are made up, three 
entries of every order are brought forward — that is to say, 
the waiter who gives it, the booking-clerk through whom it 
passes, and the cellarrnan who executes it. The cellars are 
perfect marvels of order and systematic detail ; and so 
thorough is the supervision, and so accurate the check, that 
the superintendent, looking at the last stock-taking, can 
reckon the consumption to the moment of inquiry, and can 
at any time give you to a bottle the exact state of any bin 
in the vast cellarage. While on this subject, it is worth 
noticing that though the cellar contains numerous specimens 
of rare wines and curious vintages, it is very seldom indeed 
that they are called for. Punch, sherry, and champagne 
with the dinner — and nearly always champagne — it seems 
to be a fixed idea with Greenwich diners, more especially 
with those who but seldom indulge in such a luxury, that 
champagne is a positive necessity. After dinner, by men 
of the present generation, and at parties where ladies are 
present, claret is generally drunk : but at the great feeds of 
the City companies, at the testimonial-presentation dinners, 
at the annual gatherings of old gentlemen belonging to 
eccentrically-named clubs — institutions with a superstructure 
of indulgence springing from a substratum of charity — 
nothing but East India brown sherry and sound port ever 
" sparkle on the board " after the cloth has been removed 
from it. 

On the first-floor is a kitchen, which supplies that and 
the floor above, while the house is pierced with " lifts " for 
the speedy conveyance of hot dishes and removal of plates, 
glasses, etc. One of these lifts penetrates to the cellar, and 
brings up the wine fresh and cool from the deep dark bins ; 
one fetches the fruit and dessert from that bower wherein a 
pretty girl passes her life engaged in the dispensation of 
such luxuries ; several are perpetually clattering down into 
the kitchens, and returning laden with different courses, all 


set out in order for the particular room, the waiter attached 
to which is in attendance to receive thern. The same order 
and regularity which pervades the rest of the establishment 
is brought to play upon the waiters : to each man the plate 
given out is counted and entered on a record ; each has his 
own particular cutlery and glass ; each is accountable for 
everything supplied to him; each has, as the first instalment 
of his day's labour, to cut up a huge brown loaf into that 
timber-yard arrangement of delicious slices, without which 
no Greenwich dinner would be complete. Added to tbis r 
on every floor, in the secret recesses unexplored by the 
general public, hangs a written code of laws and a table of 
fines applicable to waiters' irregularities. At the Greenwich 
houses the majority of the waiters will be found to be 
foreigners, and they are mostly sons of German innkeepers, 
many of them men of worldly position, who have come over 
here to acquire a knowledge of their business, and an insight 
into the ways of the world. The head-waiter at such a house 
as The Vessel is a superior man ; at large dinners he draws 
a regular sketch of the table, which is generally in horse- 
shoe form, and on an average holds thirty-five dishes, seven- 
teen on either side, and a huge centre-piece before the 
chairman ; he arranges them artistically, and can in an 
instant denote the exact place of any dish. The daily list 
of eatables is prepared each morning by the superintendent 
(one of the partners), and nearly every article is purchased 
in Greenwich. Some of the fish is purchased in Billingsgate, 
but most comes from two local fishmongers, who each morn- 
ing supply a priced tariff of what they have to offer. The 
meat and nearly all the vegetables are purchased in the 
neighbourhood ; and with such exactness are The Vessel's 
books kept, that the precise amount spent in lucifer-matches 
during the season is entered, and figures with other equally 
small items in the grand total of the partnership account. 
What these accounts must be for fish alone may be guessed 


when it is recorded here that between the 1st of April and 
the 30th of September there is an average consumption of 
thirty-five thousand flounders. 

Whitebait, without which there would be no Vessel, and 
in the minds of a great many people no Greenwich — white- 
bait, which Theodore Hook called "curl-papers fried in 
batter," which most people sneer at as nothing, and which 
everybody eats with delight — are caught where the water is 
a little brackish, generally between Barking and Greenhithe, 
with a net thirty feet long and twelve feet wide. This net 
is cast always in daylight, either at high or low water, and 
remains two feet below the surface until nearly the ebb or 
flood, as the case may be. At the commencement of the 
spring whitebait first appear, but not in large quantities, as 
these are old fish who escaped the last year's netting ; about 
the middle of April the young fry, perfectly transparent, 
arrive, and in the first week in May come to perfection. So 
it continues for a couple of months ; then gradually white- 
bait get larger and larger, and about the close of September 
are lost sight of altogether. There is a speciality for 
dressing " bait ;" and the fisherman who, assisted by his son, 
for upwards of a score of years has supplied The Vessel, not 
only catches the whitebait, but cooks them. On a glowing 
coke-fire is placed a large frying-pan full of boiling lard; the 
fish, first thoroughly rolled in flour, are placed in a cloth, 
which is plunged into the hissing fat. The cook, a perfect 
salamander, utterly impervious to the frightful heat which 
makes strangers wink and beat a hasty retreat, takes the 
handle of the frying-pan and turns it from right to left, 
peering in at the seething mass. In two minutes the cook- 
ing is accomplished, and the fish are emptied out of the 
cloth on to a dish. Ye who would taste your bait in perfec- 
tion, get permission to eat it in the kitchen ! Salmon come 
from the banks of the Severn and Tweed, soles from Texel 
and Torbay, whiting and mackerel from the South Coast, 


smelts from the Medway, turbots from Dover, eels and 
flounders from the Thames, perch and crayfish from Oxford, 
lobsters from the coast of Norway, trout principally from 
Loch Leven, red mullet from the Channel Islands. 

Here is an example of the manner in which the Business 
of Pleasure is carried on with the utmost regularity and 
precision ; with every precaution of check and counter-check 
book-keeping, and all the paraphernalia of ledger-demain 
which respectability prescribes (in no Manchester cotton- 
broker's or Liverpool ship-owner's offices could the accounts 
be more closely kept) ; with the liberal diffusion of a huge 
capital, and the employment of a large number of hard- 
working persons. 



Weighing thirteen stone, standing six feet high, possessed 
of an indomitable laziness, and having occasion constantly 
to go from one part of town to the other, I want to know 
how I am to have my requirements attended to with ease 
and comfort to myself. If my name were Schemsiluihar, 
and I had lived ages ago at Bagdad, I should have gone 
quietly into the garden, and, after rubbing my ring on my 
lamp, or burning my incense, I should have prostrated 
myself before an enormous genie, who would have been 
very much hurt by my humility, would straightway have 
proclaimed himself my slave, and, after hearing my wants, 
would immediately have provided me with four feet square 
of best Turkey carpet, on which I had only to deposit 
myself to be wafted through the air to my destination ; or 
he would have produced a roc for me to sit astride on : or 
an enchanted horse with a series of pegs in his neck, like a 
fiddle, the mere manipulation of which increased or checked 
his speed. But as I happen to live in the benighted year of 
peace '63, as my name is Nomatter, and as I reside in Little 
Flotsam Street, Jetsam Gardens, N.W., the carpet, the roc, 
and the peggy steed are unavailable. I could walk ? Yes, 
but I won't. I hate walking ; it makes me hot, and uncom- 
fortable, and savage : when walking, I either fall into a train 


of thought, or I get gaping at surrounding objects and 
passing people, both of which feats have the same result, 
namely, my tumbling up against other pedestrians, straying 
into the road under the hoofs of horses, and getting myself 
generally objurgated and hi'd at. I couldn't ride on horse- 
back, because no man with any sense in his head, combined 
with any weight in his body, could ride a horse over London's 
greasy stones. I could ride in a cab, but it is too expensive; 
in a brougham, but for the same reason doubly magnified, 
with the additional fact that I do not possess one. Leaving 
out of the question the absurdity of the proceeding, there is 
no living man capable of conveying me for several miles in 
a wheelbarrow ; and when I state that I have never yet been 
the subject of a commission de lunatico, I need offer no 
further explanation of my declining to ride in a velocipede 
— a humorous conveyance like the under-carriage of a chariot, 
the occupant of which apparently rests himself by using his 
arms as well as his legs for his propulsion. 

When I was a boy at school, I recollect in the shop- 
windows prints of an aerial machine, a delightful conveyance 
like an enormous bat, sailing over London (which was 
represented by the dome of St. Paul's and a couple of 
church-spires), and filled with elegantly-dressed company, 
who were chatting to each other without the smallest 
appearance of astonishment. I cannot positively state that 
there was a captain depicted as in command of this 
atmospheric vessel, though my belief leans that way ; but 
I perfectly well remember a " man at the wheel," grasping 
a tiller like a cheese-cutter, and directing the course with 
the greatest ease and freedom. This would have been an 
eligible mode of conveyance had the scheme ever been 
carried out ; but the inventor only got as far as the print, 
and there apparently exhausted himself, as I never heard 
anything further of it. And this, by the way, reminds me 
that an occasional trip in Mr. Coxwell's balloon would be a 


novel and an exciting method of getting over the ground, 
only there being no " man at the wheel," there is a 
consequent absence of definite knowledge as to where 
you are going ; and if I, bent on travelling from Jetsam 
Gardens to Canonbury Square, were to see Mr. Coxwell 
looking vaguely out, and were to hear him remarking, 
"Isn't that Beachy Head?" I should feel uncomfortable. 

So I am compelled to fall back on a cheap, easy, and, 
to a certain extent, expeditious mode of locomotion, and to 
travel by the omnibus. I am aware that professed cynics 
will sneer at my use of the word " expeditious." There are, 
I believe, journeys performed in the middle of the day, 
when the snail gallops gaily past the outward-bound 
suburban omnibus, and when the tortoise, having an 
appointment to keep at the Ship and Turtle, prefers to 
walk, in order that he may be in time ; but the middle of 
the day is consecrated to old ladies going "into the City" 
on business, while my experience is confined to the early 
morning and the late evening, when we run " express," and 
when, I will venture to wager, we go as fast, the crowded 
state of the streets considered, as ever did the York 
Highflyer or the Brighton Age. My associations with 
omnibuses are from my youth upward. As a child I lived 
in a very large thoroughfare, and I used to stand for hours 
at the window watching the red Hammersmith omnibuses, 
luminous with the name of " George Cloud/' and the 
white Putney and Richmond omnibuses, and the green 
" Favourites," boldly declaring the ownership of "Elizabeth 
and John Wilson " — grand 'buses those, with drivers and 
conductors in green liveries, always renewed (with an 
accompaniment of nosegay for buttonhole, and favours 
for whip, and rosettes for horses' ears) on the occasion of 
the Queen's birthday. I was originally taken to school in 
a hackney-coach— I perfectly well recollect kneeling at the 
bottom in the straw as we (I and a broken-hearted aunt) 


ascended Highgate Hill, and imploring tearfully to be taken 
back home, even in the lowest menial capacity — but I came 
back in an omnibus, in a high state of effervescence, and 
with a large stock of worldly experience. I first saw her 
who, as the bagmen's toast says, doubles the pleasures and 
halves the sorrows of my life, as I stepped off an omnibus. 
I first went down to my office on an omnibus; and I still 
patronise that same conveyance, where, I may incidentally 
mention, I am a " regular," that I always have the seat next 
the coachman on the off-side, and that my opinion on the 
news from America is always anxiously expected by my 
fellow-passengers. Long since, however, have the omnibuses 
of my childhood been "run off the road." Mr. George 
Cloud and his compeers have retired ; and the whole 
metropolitan service, with very few exceptions, is worked by 
the London General Omnibus Company j concerning which 
— its rise, origin, and progress, and the manner in which it 
is carried on — I have, under proper official authority, made 
full inquiry, and now intend to report. 

If Napoleon the Third had succeeded in his memorable 
expedition with the tame eagle to Boulogne, it is pro- 
bable that we in England might still be going on with 
the old separate proprietary system of omnibuses ; but as 
the tame-eagle expedition (majestic in itself) was a failure, 
its smaller component parts had to escape as they best 
could. Among these smaller component parts was one 
Orsi, captain of the steamer conveying the intruding 
emperor ; and Orsi, flying from justice, flew, after the 
manner of his kind, to England, and there established 
himself. Years after, in 1855, this M. Orsi bethought 
himself of a scheme for simultaneously improving his own 
fortunes and bettering the condition of London omnibus- 
traffic, by assimilating its management to that which for a 
long time had worked admirably in Paris. He accordingly 
associated with himself a crafty long-headed man of business, 


one M. Foucard, and they together drew up such a specious 
prospectus, that when they submitted it to four of the 
principal London omnibus-proprietors, Messrs. Macnamara, 
Wilson, Willing, and Hartley, these gentlemen, all thoroughly 
versed in their business, so far saw their way, that they at once 
consented to enter into the proposal, and became the agents 
for Messieurs Orsi and Foucard. The division of labour 
then commenced : the Frenchmen started for Paris, there 
to establish their company (for our English laws on 
mercantile liability and the dangers of shareholding were, 
a few years ago, much foggier, and thicker, and less 
intelligible, and more dangerous than they are now) ; and 
so well did they succeed, that, in a very short time, they 
had raised and perfected as a " Societe en Commandite " 
the " Compagnie Gene'rale des Omnibus de Londres," with 
a capital of ^700,000, in shares of 100 francs (or £4.) 
each ; three-fourths of the capital — such was our neighbours' 
belief in our business talents and luck in matters touching 
upon horse-flesh — being subscribed in France. Meantime, 
the English section were not idle : as agents for the two 
Frenchmen they bought up the rolling-stock, horses, harness, 
stabling, and good-will of nearly all the then existent 
omnibus-proprietors; they became purchasers of six hundred 
omnibuses and six thousand horses, of an enormous staff of 
coachmen, conductors, time-keepers, horse-keep -ers, washers, 
and other workmen ; and, what was very important, they 
possessed themselves of the " times " of all the important 
routes in London and the suburbs. These "times" are, in 
fact, the good-will of the roads, and were considered so 
valuable, that in some cases as much as from £zoo to 
^250 were given for the " times " of one omnibus. Under 
this form, then, the company at once commenced work, 
Messrs. Macnamara, Carteret, and Willing acting as its 
gerants (managers), with no other English legal standing ; 
and under this form, that is to say, as a French company 


with English managers, it worked until the 31st of December, 
1857, when, the Limited Liability Act having come into 
operation, by resolution of the French shareholders the 
"Socie'te en Commandite" was transformed into an English 
company, and bloomed-out, in all the glory of fresh paint 
on all its vehicles, as the London General Omnibus 
Company (Limited). With this title, and under the 
managerial arrangements then made, it has continued, 
ever since. 

With the exception of some very few private proprietors 
and one organised opposition company — the " Citizen " — 
the entire omnibus service of the metropolis and its suburbs, 
extending from Highgate in the north to Peckham in the 
south, and from Hampstead in the north-west to Greenwich 
in the south-east, embracing more than seventy routes, is 
worked by — as it is called familiarly — the "London General." 
In this traffic are engaged upwards of six hundred omnibuses 
and six thousand horses, the working of which is divided 
into ten separate districts, each with a head district esta- 
blishment. Each of these omnibuses travels on an average 
sixty miles a day, and to each is attached a stud of ten 
horses, under the care of a horsekeeper, who is responsible 
for them, and who knows the exact times when they will be 
wanted, and whose duty it is to devote himself to them 
A horse is seldom changed from one stud to another, or 
removed, except in case of illness ; each horse is numbered, 
and all the particulars relating to him are entered in a book 
kept by the foreman of the yard. The purchase-cost of 
these horses averages twenty-six pounds apiece, and the 
majority of them come from Yorkshire, though agents of the 
company attend all the principal fairs in England. They 
are of all kinds : long straggling bony hacks, short thick 
cobs ; some looking like broken-down hunters, some like 
" cast " dragoon-chargers, some like Suffolk Punches who 
have come to grief; but the style most valued is, I am told, 


a short thick horse, low in the leg, round in the barrel, and 
with full strong quarters, whence all the propelling power 
comes. They are of all colours — blacks, bays, chestnuts, 
browns, grays — though the predominant shade is that reddish 
bay so ugly in a common horse, so splendid — more especially 
when set off by black points — in a velvet-skinned thorough- 
bred ; a colour particularly affected by the manufacturers 
of the studs in those toy-stables which are always furnished 
with a movable groom in top-boots, a striped jacket, and a 
tasselled cap, with a grin of singular vacuity on his wooden 
countenance. The average work of each horse is from three 
to four hours a day, and each horse consumes daily an 
allowance of sixteen pounds of bruised oats and ten pounds 
of mixture, formed of three parts hay and one part straw. 
Their general health is, considering their work, remarkably 
good ; to attend to it there are eight veterinary surgeons, 
who are responsible for the health of the whole horse 
establishment, and who are paid by contract, receiving four 
guineas a year for each stud of ten horses. The shoeing is 
also contract work, twenty-five farriers being paid two pounds 
per month for each stud. At Highbury, where there is a 
large depot of six hundred horses, there are exceptions to 
both these rules ; a veterinary surgeon and a farrier, each 
the servant of the company, being attached to the establish- 
ment. I went the round of the premises — a vast place, 
covering altogether some fifteen acres — with the veterinary 
surgeon, and saw much to praise and nothing to condemn. 
True, the stables are not such as you would see at Malton, 
Dewsbury, or any of the great racing establishments, being 
for the most part long low sheds, the horses being separated 
merely by swinging bars, and rough litter taking the place 
of dry beds and plaited straw ; but the ventilation was by 
no means bad, and the condition of the animals certainly 
good. My companion told me that glanders, that frightful 
scourge, was almost unknown ; that sprains, curbs, and 


sand-cracks were the commonest disorders ; and that many 
of his cases resulted from the horses having become injured 
in the feet by picking up nails in the streets and yards. 
There are a few loose boxes for virulent contagious disorders 
and " suspicious " cases, but it appeared to me that more 
were wanted, and that as " overwork " is one of the most 
prevalent of omnibus-horse disorders, it would be a great 
boon if the company could possess itself of some large farm 
or series of field-paddocks, where such members of their 
stud as are so debilitated could be turned out to grass to 
rest for a time. Some such arrangement is, I believe, in 
contemplation ; but the company has only a short lease of 
their Highbury premises, and is doubtful as to its future 
arrangements there. While on this subject I may state that 
an omnibus horse generally lasts from three to four years, 
though some are in full work for six or seven, while there 
are a few old stagers who have been on the road ten or 

The coach-building department also has its head-quarters 
at Highbury, and employs one hundred and ninety men, 
whose average wages are two hundred and fifty pounds a 
week. Here all the omnibuses (with the exception of some 
six-and-tvventy provided by two contractors) are built and 
repaired, as are also the vans used in conveying the forage 
to the outlying establishments from the central depot (of 
which more anon), and the chaise-carts and four-wheelers in 
which the superintendents visit their different districts. 
Every morning at six a.m. three compact little vans leave 
Highbury for the various districts, each containing three men, 
and an assortment of wheels, axles, and tools, for any 
repairs that may be wanted. One of these men is always 
left behind at the head district-depot, to meet any contin- 
gency that may arise during the day. When an accident 
occurs in the street, an omnibus is immediately despatched 
to take the place of that which has broken down • the 


"plates " (i.e. the legal authorisation of the Inland Revenue) 
are shifted from one to the other ; and if the smash has been 
serious, a large van arrives and brings off the disabled 
omnibus bodily up to Highbury. But such accidents are 
very rare, owing to the constant supervision given to the 
axles, tons of which are constantly thrown aside. These 
axles are all manufactured on the premises, and are 
composed of ten or twelve pieces of iron " fagoted " together. 
The trade or cost price of an ordinary omnibus is one 
hundred and thirty pounds ; but the large three-horse 
vehicles, which are of tremendous weight (those from 
Manchester, in use in 1862 plying to the Exhibition, weighed 
thirty-six cwt), cost two hundred pounds. The ordinary 
time of wear is ten years ; after that they are of little use, 
though some last seventeen years. The wheels require 
entire renewal every three years, and during that time they 
are under frequent repairs, the tires lasting but a few 
months. So soon as an omnibus is condemned, it is broken 
up ; such portions of it as are still serviceable are used up in 
repairing other omnibuses, but in a new omnibus every bit 
is thoroughly new. The condemned omnibuses stand out 
in an open yard abutting on the line of the North London 
Railway ; and the superintendent of the coach-builders told 
me he had often been amused at hearing the loudly-expressed 
indignation of the railway passengers at the shameful con- 
dition of the company's omnibuses — they imagining that the 
worn-out old vehicles awaiting destruction, which they saw 
from their railway carriage-windows, were the ordinary 
rolling-stock of the London General. The wood used in 
the composition of the omnibuses is English and American 
ash, elm, deal, and Honduras ; but the poles are invariably 
formed of stout English ash. The superintendent told me 
that these poles last far less time than formerly ; and this he 
attributes to the stoppages having become so much more 
frequent, owing to the introduction of short fares ; the strain 

c 2 


upon the pole, occasioned by constant pulling-up, gradually 
frays the wood and causes an untimely smash. Before I left 
I was shown an ingenious contrivance for defeating the 
attacks of those universal enemies, the street-boys. It 
appears that the passengers of a little omnibus which runs 
from Highbury Terrace to Highbury Barn, and which, for its 
short journey, has no conductor, were horribly annoyed by 
boys who would ride on the step and jeer with ribaldry at 
the people inside. To beat them, my friend the superinten- 
dent invented what he calls a " crinoline," which, when the 
door is shut, entirely closes the step, and so cuts away any 
resting-place or vantage-ground for the marauding boy. 

The depot where all the provender is received, mixed, 
and served out for all the district establishments, is at Iron- 
gate Wharf, Paddington, on the banks of the Regent's 
Canal ; a convenient arrangement when it is considered that 
the barges bring stores to the doors at the rate of fourpence- 
halfpenny per quarter, while the land-transport for the same 
would cost one shilling. Hay is, however, generally brought 
in at the land-gates, for the facility of the weigh-bridge 
immediately outside the superintendent's office, over which 
all carts going in or out are expected to pass. There is no 
settled contractor for hay, but there is no lack of eager 
sellers, for the company are known to be quick ready-money 
purchasers, and a transaction with them saves a long day's 
waiting in the market. On this same account the company 
are gainers in the deal, to the extent of the expenses which a 
day's waiting in the market must involve for rest and refresh- 
ment for driver and horses. When a sample load is driven 
into the yard and approved of by the superintendent, a 
couple of trusses are taken from it and placed under lock 
and key, to serve as reference for quality; and when the 
general supply comes in, every truss which is not equal to 
the quality of the sample is rejected by the foreman, who 
carefully watches the delivery. The whole of the machinery- 


work of the building is performed by steam-power, erected 
on the basement-floor, and consisting of two engines of two- 
hundred-and-fifteen-horse power, consuming four tons of coal 
a week. By their agency the hay received from the country 
waggons is hoisted in "cradles" to the topmost storey of the 
building, where it is unpacked from its tightened trusses; to 
the same floor come swinging up in chain-suspended sacks, 
the oats from the barges on the canal, and these are both 
delivered over to the steam-demon, who delivers them, the 
hay separated and fined, and the oats slightly bruised (not 
crushed), and freed from all straw and dirt and stones, 
through wooden shoots and " hoppers," into the floor 
beneath. There — in the preparation-room — the ever-busy 
engines show their power in constantly revolving leather 
bands, in whirling wheels, and spinning knife -blades, and 
sparkling grindstones ; there, are men constantly allaying 
the incessant thirst of the " cutters " with offerings of mixed 
hay and straw, which in a second are resolved into a thick 
impervious mixture ; while in another part of the room the 
bruised oats into which it is to be amalgamated are slowly 
descending to their doom. All the "cutters" are covered over 
with tin cases, else the dust germinated from the flying chaff 
would be insupportable ; while at the hand of every man is 
a break, a simple lever, by the raising of which, in case of 
any accident, he could at once reverse the action of the 
machinery. Descending to the next floor, we find the results 
of the cutters and the bruisers ; there, stand stalwart men 
covered with perspiration, stripped to the shirt-sleeves, and 
who have large baskets in front of them at the mouths of 
the shoots, anxiously awaiting their prey. Down comes 
a mass of chaff, the basket is full, a man seizes it, and 
empties it into a huge square trough before him; from 
another shoot, another basket is filled with bruised oats : 
these he empties into the trough on the top of the chaff; he 
pauses for one minute ; a whistle, forming the top of a pipe 


descending into the basement-storey, is heard, that signals 
" All right and ready." He turns a handle, and presto ! the 
floor of the trough turns into tumbling waves of metal, 
which toss the oats and the chaff hither and thither, mix 
them up, and finally drop them, a heterogeneous mass of 
horse-food, into sacks waiting their arrival below. Three 
of these sacks are sent away daily as food for each stud of 
ten horses ; seven large provender-vans are, throughout the 
whole of the day, conveying sacks to the different district 
establishments : twenty-six men are engaged at this de'pot, 
each from six a.m. to six p.m. ; and the whole affair works 
without a hitch. 

I have treated of the horse service, the coach-building 
service, and the foraging serviceof the company. Imayin con- 
clusion come to its human service, the drivers and conductors. 

Each man, before entering on his duties, is required to 
obtain from the Chief Commissioner of the Metropolitan 
Police, a license to act. To obtain this, he must give 
reference to three respectable householders, and deposit five 
shillings for the expenses attendant on the necessary 
inquiries and issue of the license. If the references be 
satisfactory, a license, in printed form, describing the name, 
address, and general appearance of the holder, is granted, 
and with it the metal badge to be worn when on duty. 
These licenses are renewable on the ist of June in each 
year, and as the magistrates endorse on the paper every 
conviction or reprimand, the renewal of the license is 
necessarily dependent on the possessor showing a clean bill 
of health. If the driver have no serious blot on his character, 
and can prove to the satisfaction of the superintendent that 
he is competent for the management of horses, he is 
generally at once accepted; but the conductor's character 
must stand a greater test. He is virtually the representative 
of the company on the omnibus, and to him is confided a 
large amount of discretionary power, such as the refusal to 
carry intoxicated people, or such persons as by dress 


demeanour, etc., may be " fairly objectionable to pas- 
sengers." He is constituted the arbitrator among " brawling 
passengers,'"' and has, indeed, a very stringent code of rules 
laid down for his guidance — one of which is, that he is to 
" abstain from any approach to familiarity," which — as in the 
case of a pretty maid-servant with a not unnatural suscepti- 
bility to approach — is, I take it, soul-harrowing and 
impossible to be carried out. As regards the collection of 
money, each conductor is provided with a printed form of 
'■ journey-ticket," on which at the end of every journey, he 
is required to render an account, at some office on the route, 
of the number of passengers carried, and the amount of 
moneys received. At the end of the day he makes a 
summary, on another form, of the whole of his journey- 
tickets, and next morning he pays over, to the clerk in the 
office, the money he has received during the previous day, 
deducting his own wages and those of the driver, and any 
tolls he may have paid. Every driver receives six shillings 
a day, every conductor four shillings, out of which the driver 
has to provide his whip and apron, and the conductor the 
lamp and oil for the interior of the omnibus. Both classes 
of men are daily servants, liable to discharge at a day's 
warning, but either can rest occasionally by employing an 
" odd man," of whom there are several at each district 
establishment, ready to do "odd" work, from which they 
are promoted to regular employment. 

The receipts of the company are very large, averaging 
between eleven and twelve thousand pounds a week (in one 
week of the Exhibition year they were above seventeen 
thousand pounds), and I asked one of the chief officers if he 
thought they were much pillaged. He told me he had not 
the least doubt that, by conductors alone, they were robbed 
to the extent of twenty-five thousand pounds a year ; and a 
practical superintendent of large experience, on my repeating 
this to him, declared that he believed that sum did not 
represent the half of their losses from the same source. I 


asked whether no check could be devised, and was told 
none — at least, none so efficient as to be worthy of the name. 
Indicators of all kinds have been suggested ; but every 
indicator was at the mercy of the conductor, who could clog 
it with wood, and so allow three or more persons to enter or 
depart, while the indicator only recorded the entrance or 
exit of one ; and unless some such turn-table as the turn- 
table in use at Waterloo Bridge could be applied (for which 
there is obviously no space in an omnibus), check was 
impossible. The sole approach to such check lay in the 
services rendered by a class of persons technically known as 
"bookers," who were, in fact, spies travelling in the omnibus, 
and yielding to the company an account of every passenger, 
the length of his ride, and the amount of his fare. But it 
was only in extreme cases, where the conductor was 
incautious beyond measure, that such evidence could be 
efficient against him. These "bookers" are of all classes, 
men, women, and children, all acting under one head, to 
whom they are responsible, and who alone is recognised 
by the company. The best of them is a woman, who, it is 
boasted, can travel from Islington to Chelsea, and give an 
exact account of every passenger, where he got in, where he 
got out, what he was like, and the fare he paid. 

I think I have now enumerated most of the prominent 
features of our omnibus system. When I have casually 
mentioned to friends the work on which I was engaged, I 
have been requested to bring forward this grievance and 
that. Brownsmith, weighing fifteen stone, wants only five 
persons allowed on one seat; little Iklass, standing four feet 
six in height, wants easier method of access to the roof. But 
my intention was description, not criticism ; and even if it 
were, I doubt whether I should be inclined to represent that 
any large public body, comparatively recently established, 
could on the whole be expected to do their work better than 
the " London General." 



There is a very large class of Riding London, which, while 
not sufficiently rich to keep its private carriage, holds 
omnibus conveyance in contempt and scorn, loathes flys, 
and pins its vehicular faith on cabs alone. To this class 
belong lawyers' clerks, of whom, red-bag-holding and 
perspiration-covered, there are always two or three at the 
Holborn end of Chancery Lane flinging themselves into 
Hansoms, and being whirled off to Guildhall or Westminster; 
to it belong newspaper reporters, with their note-books in 
their breast-pockets, hurrying up from parliament debates to 
their offices, there to turn their mystic hieroglyphics into 
sonorous phrases ; to it belong stockbrokers having " time 
bargains " to transact ; editors hunting up " copy " from 
recalcitrant contributors ; artists hurrying to be in time 
with their pictures ere the stern exhibition-gallery porter 
closes the door, and, pointing to the clock, says, " It's 
struck !"— young gentlemen going or coming from Cremorne; 
and all people who have to catch trains, keep appointments, 
or do anything by a certain specified time, and who, following 
the grand governing law of human nature, have, in old ladies' 
phraseology, " driven everything to the last." To such 
people a Hansom cab is a primary matter of faith ; and 
certainly, when provided with a large pair of wheels, a thick 


round tubby horse (your thin bony rather blood-looking 
dancing jumping quadruped lately introduced is no good at 
all for speed), and a clever driver, there is nothing to 
compare to it. Not the big swinging pretentious remise 
of Paris or Brussels ; not the heavy, rumbling, bone-dis- 
locating droskies of Berlin or Vienna, with their blue- 
bloused accordion-capped drivers ; not the droschky of 
St. Petersburg, with its vermin-swarming Ischvostchik ; 
not the shatteradan calesas of Madrid, with its garlic- 
reeking conductor ! Certainly not the old vaulty hackney- 
coach ; the jiffiing dangerous cabriolet, where the driver 
sat beside you, and shot you into the street at his will and 
pleasure ; the " slice," the entrance to which was from the 
back ; the " tribus," and other wild vehicles which im- 
mediately succeeded the extinction of the old cabriolet, 
which had their trial, and then passed away as failures. 
There are still about half-a-dozen hackney-coaches of the 
" good old " build, though much more modest in the 
matter of paint and heraldry than they used to be ; but 
these are attached entirely to the metropolitan railway 
stations, and are only made use of by Paterfamilias with 
much luggage and many infants on his return from the 
annual sea-side visit. Cabs, both of the Hansom and 
Clarence build, are the staple conveyance of middle-class 
Riding London ; and of these we now propose to treat. 

Although there are, plying in the streets, nearly five 
thousand cabs, there are only some half-dozen large masters 
who hold from thirty to fifty vehicles each, the remainder 
being owned by struggling men, who either thrive and 
continue, or break and relapse into their old position of 
drivers, horsekeepers, conductors, or something even more 
anomalous, according to the season and the state of trade. 
My inquiries on this subject were made of one of the 
principal masters, whose name I knew from constantly 
seeing it about the streets, but with whom I had not the 


smallest personal acquaintance. I had previously written 
to him, announcing my intended visit and its object ; but 
when I arrived at the stables, I found their owner evidently 
perceiving a divided duty, and struggling between natural 
civility and an enforced reticence. Yes, he wished to do 
what was right,. Lor' bless me ! but — and here he stopped, 
and cleared his throat, and looked, prophetically, afar off, 
over the stables' roof, and at the pigeons careering over 
Lamb's Conduit Street. I waited and waited, and at last 
out it came. Would I be fair and 'boveboard ? I would ! 
No hole-and-corner circumwentin ? I didn't clearly know 
what this meant, but I pledged my word then there should 
be none of it. Well, then — was I a agent of this new cab 
company as he'd heard was about to be started ? Explaining 
in full detail my errand, I never got more excellent informa- 
tion more honestly and cheerfully given. 

My friend had on an average thirty-five cabs in use, and 
all of these were built on his own premises and by his own 
men. There was very little, if any, difference between the 
price of building a Hansom or a Clarence cab, the cost of 
each, when well turned out, averaging fifty guineas. To 
every cab there are, of necessity, two horses : but a careful 
cab-master will allow seven horses to three cabs, the extra 
animal being required in case of overwork or illness, either 
or both of which are by no means of unfrequent occurrence. 
These horses are not bought at any particular place, but 
are picked up as opportunity offers. Aldridge's and the 
Repository in Barbican furnish many ef them. Many are 
confirmed " screws," some are well-bred horses with unmis- 
takable symptoms of imminent disease, others with incurable 
vice — incurable, that is to say, until after a fortnight's 
experience of a Hansom's shafts, when they generally are 
reduced to lamb-like quietude. There is no average price, 
the sums given varying from ten to five-and-twenty pounds ; 
nor can their lasting qualities be reduced to an average, as 


some knock up and are consigned to the slaughterer after a 
few weeks-, while other old stagers battle with existence for 
a dozen years. In the season, cabs are generally out on a 
stretch of fifteen hours, going out between nine or ten a.m., 
returning to change horses between three and five p.m., 
starting afresh, and finally returning home between midnight 
and one a.m. Of course there are cabs which leave the 
yard and return at earlier times, and during the height of 
the Cremorne festivities there are many which do not go out 
till noon, and seldom appear again at the stables until broad 
daylight about four a.m. These are far from being the 
worst paid of the cab fraternity ; as a visit to Cremorne, 
and a mingling in its pleasures, is by no means productive 
of stinginess to the cabman, but occasionally results in a 
wish on the part of the fare to ride on the box, to drive the 
horse, and to proffer cigars and convivial refreshment on 
every possible occasion. Each cabman on starting carries 
a horse-bag with him containing three feeds of mixed chaff, 
which horse-bag is replenished before he leaves for his 
afternoon trip. The cab-masters, however, impress upon 
their men the unadvisability of watering their horses at 
inn-yards or from watermen's pails, as much disease is 
generated in this manner. 

The monetary arrangements between cab-masters and 
cabmen are peculiar. The master pays his man no wages ; 
on the contrary, the man hires horse and vehicle from his 
master ; and having to pay him a certain sum, leaves his 
own earnings to chance, to which amicable arrangement we 
may ascribe the conciliatory manners and the avoidance of 
all attempts at extortion which characterise these gentry. 
For Clarence cabs the masters charge sixteen shillings a day, 
while Hansoms command from two to three shillings a day 
extra ; and they are well worth it to the men, not merely 
from their ordinary popularity, but just at the present time, 
when, as was explained, there is a notion in the minds of 


most old ladies that every four-wheel cab has just conveyed 
a patient to the Small-Pox Hospital, the free open airy 
Hansoms are in great demand. In addition to his lawful 
fares, the perquisites or " pickings " of the cabman may be 
large. To him the law of treasure-trove is a dead letter ; 
true, there exists a regulation that all property left in any 
public vehicle is to be deposited with the registrar at 
Somerset House; but a very small percentage finds its way 
to that governmental establishment. The cabman has, 
unwittingly, a great reverence for the old feudal system, and 
claims over anything which he may seize the right of free- 
warren, saccage and soccage, cuisage and jambage, fosse 
and fork, infang theofe, and outfang theofe ; and out of all 
those portemonnaies, pocket-books, reticules, ladies' bags, 
portmanteaus, cigar-cases, deeds, documents, books, sticks, 
and umbrellas, duly advertised in the second column of The 
Tunes as " left in a cab," very few find their way to Somerset 
House. I knew of an old gentleman of muddle-headed 
tendencies who left four thousand pounds' worth of Dutch 
coupons, payable to bearer, in a hack Clarence cab ; years 
have elapsed, and despite all the energies of the detective 
police and the offer of fabulous rewards, those coupons have 
never been recovered, nor will they be until the day of 
settlement arrives, when the adjudication as to who is their 
rightful owner — with a necessarily strong claim on the part 
of their then possessor — will afford a pretty bone of con- 
tention for exponents of the law. All that the driver has to 
find as his equipment, is his whip — occasionally, by some 
masters, lost nose-bags are placed to his account — and 
having provided himself with that, and his license, he can 
go forth. 

But there is a very large class of London people to 
whom the possession of a private carriage of their own is 
the great ambition of life, a hope long deferred, which, 
however sick it has made the heart for years, coming at last 


yields an amount of pleasure worth the waiting for. Nine- 
tenths of these people job their horses. Those pretty, low- 
quartered, high-crested brougham-horses, with the champing 
mouths and the tossing heads, which career up and down 
the Ladies' Mile ; those splendid steppers, all covered with 
fleck and foam, which the bewigged coachman tools round 
and round Grosvenor Square while "waiting to take up;" 
those long, lean-bodied, ill-looking, but serviceable horses 
which pass their day in dragging Dr. Bolus from patient to 
patient — all are jobbed. It is said that any man of common 
sense setting up his carriage in London will job his horses. 
There are four or five great job-masters in town who have 
the best horses in the metropolis at command, and who 
are neither dealers nor commission-agents, but with whom 
jobbing is the sole vocation. And, at a given price, they 
can, at a few days' notice, provide you with any class of 
animal you may require. Either in person, or by a trusty 
agent, they attend all the large horse-fairs in the kingdom ; 
or should they by any chance be unrepresented there, they 
are speedily waited on by the dealers, who know the exact 
class of horse which the job-master requires. Horses are 
bought by them at all ages, from three to seven. Young 
horses are broken-in at four years old, and when their tuition 
is commenced in the autumn, they are generally found ready 
for letting in the succeeding spring. The breaking-in is one 
of the most difficult parts of the job-master's business. The 
young horse is harnessed to a break by the side of an 
experienced old stager, known as a " break-horse," who does 
nothing but " break " work, who is of the utmost assistance 
to the break-driver, and who, when thoroughly competent, 
is beyond all price. Such a break-horse will put up with all 
the vagaries of his youthful companion ; will combine with 
the driver to check all tendencies on the part of the 
neophyte to bolt, shy, back, or plunge ; and if his young 
friend be stubborn, or devote himself to jibbing or standing 


stock-still, will seize him by the neck with his teeth, and, 
by a combination of strength and cunning, pull him off and 
set him in motion. 

The prices charged by job-masters vary according to the 
class of horse required and according to the length of the 
job. Many country gentlemen bringing their families to 
London for the season hire horses for a three or six months' 
job, and they have to pay in proportion a much higher rate 
than those who enter into a yearly contract. For the very 
best style of horse, combining beauty, action, and strength, a 
job-master will charge a hundred guineas a year, exclusive of 
forage ; but the best plan for the man of moderate means, 
who looks for work from his horses in preference to show, 
and who has neither time, knowledge, nor inclination to be 
in a perpetual squabble with grooms and corn-chandlers, is 
to pay for his horses at a certain price which includes forage 
and shoeing. Under these conditions, the yearly price for 
one horse is ninety guineas ; for a pair, one hundred and 
sixty guineas ; and for this payment he may be certain of 
getting sound, serviceable, thoroughly creditable-looking 
animals (which he may himself select from a stud of two or 
three hundred), which are well fed by the job-master, and 
shod whenever requisite by the farrier nearest to the hirer's 
stables, to whom the job-master is responsible, and which, 
when one falls lame or ill, are replaced in half an hour. 
Having made this arrangement, the gentleman setting up 
his carriage has only to provide himself with stables, which, 
with coach-house, loft, and man's room, cost from twenty 
pounds to thirty pounds a year ; to hire a coachman, costing 
from one guinea to twenty-five shillings a week ; to purchase 
a carriage-setter (a machine for hoisting the wheels, to allow 
of their being twirled for proper cleaning), and the ordinary 
pails, brushes, and sponges, and to allow a sum for ordinary 
expenses, which, according to the extravagance or economy 
of his coachman, will stand him in from six pounds to 


twelve pounds a year. If more than two horses are kept, 
the services of a helper, at twelve shillings a week, will be 
required ; and it is scarcely necessary to add, that if day and 
night service have to be performed, at the end of three 
months neither horses nor coachman will fulfil their duties 
in a satisfactory manner. Indeed, there are several other- 
wise lucrative jobs which the job-masters find it necessary 
to terminate at the end of the first year ; the acquisition of 
"their own carriage " proving such a delight to many worthy 
persons that they are never happy except when exhibiting 
their glory to their friends, and this is aided by ignorant, 
unskilful, and cheap drivers taking so much out of their 
hired cattle as utterly to annihilate any chance of gain on the 
part of the real proprietor of the animal. 

As a provision for sick or overworked horses, each 
principal job-master has a farm within twenty miles of 
London, averaging about two hundred acres, where, in 
grassy paddocks or airy loose-boxes, the debilitated horses 
regain the health and condition which the constant pelting 
over London stones has robbed them of. Generally speak- 
ing, however, the health of a jobbed horse is wonderful. In 
the first place, he is never purchased unless perfectly sound, 
and known by the best competent judges to be thoroughly 
fitted for the work which he is likely to undergo ; then he 
is fed with liberality (six feeds a day are on the average 
allowed when in full work) ; and, lastly, there is generally 
a certain sense of decency in his hirer which prevents him 
from being overworked. This fact, however, is very seldom 
realised until a gentleman, urged by the apparent economy 
of the proceeding, determines upon buying a brougham- 
horse and feeding it himself. On the face of it, this looks 
like an enormous saving. The horse is to cost — say from 
sixty to eighty pounds, the cost of keep is fourteen shillings 
a week, of shoeing four pounds a year. But in nine cases 
out of ten owned horses take cold, throw out splints or curbs, 


pick up nails, begin to " roar," or in some fashion incapacitate 
themselves for action during so large a portion of the year, 
that their Oivner is glad to get rid of them, and to return 
again to the jobbing system. 

Although most job-masters profess to let saddle-horses 
on job yet — for yearly jobs, at least — there is seldom a 
demand for them. A saddle-horse is in general a petted 
favourite with its owner, who would not regard with com- 
placency the probability of its being sent, on his leaving 
town, to some ignorant or cruel rider. So that the jobbing 
in this department is principally confined to the letting of a 
few horses for park-riding in the London season. For these 
from eight to ten guineas a month are paid, and the animals 
provided are in most cases creditable in appearance, and 
useful enough when the rider is a light-weight and a good 
horseman ; heavy men, unaccustomed to riding, had better 
at once purchase a horse, on the advice of some competent 
person ; as hired hacks acquire, under their various riders, 
certain peculiarities of stumbling, backing, and shying, which 
render them very untrustworthy. Some job-masters have a 
riding-school attached to their premises, and whenever an 
evident " green hand " comes to hire a hack for a term, the 
job-master, who reads him like a book, asks, with an air of 
great simplicity, whether he is accustomed to riding. In 
nine cases out of ten the answer will be, " Well, scarcely ! — 
long time since — in fact, not ridden since he was a boy ; " 
and then the job-master recommends a few days in the 
school, which, to quote the words of the card of terms, 
means " six lessons when convenient, £2 2s." 

Probably the next day the victim will arrive at the school, 
a large barn-like building, and will find several other victims, 
old and young, undergoing tuition from the riding-master, 
a man in boots, with limbs of steel and lungs of brass, who 
stands in the middle of the school, and thence roars his 
commands. This functionary, with one glance, takes stock 


of the new arrival's powers of equitation, and orders a helper 
to bring in one of the stock-chargers for such riders, a strong 
old horse, knowing all the dodges of the school, and accus- 
tomed, so far as his mouth is concerned, to the most re- 
markable handling. He comes in, perhaps, with a snort 
and a bound, but- stands stock-still to be mounted — a 
ceremony which the pupil seems to think consists in grasp- 
ing handfuls of the horse's mane, and flinging himself bodily 
on to the horse's back. The stern man in boots advances 
and gives him proper instruction ; off starts the horse, and 
takes his position at the end of a little procession which is 
riding round the school. Then upon the pupil's devoted 
head comes a flood of instruction. Calling him by name, 
the riding-master tells him that " Position is everything 
sir ! Don't sit your horse like a sack ! Body upright, 
elbows square, clutch the horse with that part of the leg 
between the knee and the ankle, toes up, sir " — this is 
managed by pressing the heel down — " where are you 
turning them toes to, sir ? Keep 'em straight, pray ! 
Tr-r-ot ! " At the first sound of the familiar word the old 
horse starts off in the wake of the others, and the rider is 
jerked forward, his hat gradually works either over his eyes 
or on to his coat-collar, his toes go down, his heels go up 
he rows with his legs as with oars. When the word " Can- 
tarr ! " is given, he is reduced to clinging with one hand to 
the pommel ; but this resource does not avail him, for at the 
command "Circle left !" the old horse wheels round un- 
expectedly, and the new pupil pitches quietly off on the tan- 
covered floor. The six lessons, if they do not make him a 
perfect Nimrod, are, however, very useful to him ; they give 
him confidence, and he learns sufficient to enable him to 
present a decent appearance in the Row. (Until a man has 
ridden in London, he is unaware of the savagery of the boy 
population, or of their wonderful perseverance in attempting 
to cause fatal accidents.) These riding-schools are good 


sources of income to the job-master, and are generally so 
well patronised that the services of a riding-master and an 
assistant are in requisition, with very little intermission, 
from seven a.m. till seven p.m. The middle of the day is 
devoted to the ladies, who sometimes muster very strongly. 
In the winter evenings the school is also much used by 
gentlemen keeping their private hacks at livery with the 
job-master ; and being warm, well-lighted, and spacious, it 
forms a capital exercise-ground. These schools are also 
much frequented by foreigners, for the sake of the leaping- 
bar practice, which enables them to prepare themselves for 
the gymnastic evolutions of " Fox-Ont." 

Having treated of the arrangements in force in London 
for those who ride in omnibuses, cabs, private carriages, and 
on horseback, we now come to the preparation for that last 
journey which one day or other must be made by us all, and 
which has its own peculiar staff of vehicles, horses, and 

The black-job or black-coach business (as it is indif- 
ferently called) of London is in the hands of four large 
proprietors, who manage between them the whole vehicular 
funeral arrangements of the metropolis. These men are 
wholly distinct from the undertakers ; they will take no 
direct orders from the public, but are only approachable 
through the undertakers, whose contract for the funeral 
includes conveyance. They provide hearse, mourning- 
coaches, horses, and drivers ; and one of their standing 
rules is, that no horse can be let without a driver, that is, 
that none of their horses must be driven by persons not in 
their employ. These horses are fine, strong, handsome 
animals, costing ^"50 apiece, and are all imported from 
Holland and Belgium. They are all entire horses, no mares 
are ever used in the trade, and their breeding — for what 
reason I know not — is never attempted in this country. 
They are mostly of a dull blue-black colour, but they vary 

d 2 


in hue according to their age ; and, as their personal appear- 
ance is always closely scanned by bystanders, they are the 
recipients of constant care. A gray patch is quickly painted 
out ; and when time has thinned any of the flowing locks of 
mane or tail, a false plait, taken from a deceased comrade, 
is quickly interwoven. They are for the most part gentle 
and docile, but very powerful, and often have to drag their 
heavy burdens a long distance. The black-job masters 
manufacture their own hearses, at a cost of forty-five pounds 
each ; but mourning-coaches are never built expressly for 
their dreary work. They are nearly all old fashionable 
chariots, which, at their birth, were the pride of Long Acre, 
and in their heyday the glory of the Park ; but which, when 
used up, are bought for the black-job business, and covered 
with japan, varnish, and black cloth ; are re-lined with the 
same sad colour; and thus, at an expense not exceeding 
thirty-five pounds, including the cost, are changed into 
mourning-coaches, likely to be serviceable in their new 
business for many years. 

Among other items of information, I learned that 
Saturday is looked upon as the aristocratic day for funerals, 
while poor people are mostly buried on Sunday ; that there 
is a very general wish among undertakers that cemeteries 
should be closed on Sundays ; that very frequently no 
hearse is employed, the coffin being placed crossway under 
the coachman's seat, and hidden by the hammercloth ; that 
in cheap funerals one horse has often to convey from eight 
to twelve passengers ; and that, after the ceremony is over, 
the most effectual thing to stanch the flow of mourners' 
grief is often found to be a game of skittles at the nearest 
public-house, accompanied by copious libations of beer. 



Years ago, not merely when "this old cloak was new," 
but when this old cloak (which I never possessed, by-the- 
way, and which is a mere figurative garment to be hung on 
pegs of trope or hooks of metaphor) was a short jacket, 
ornamented with liquorice-marks and fruit-stains, and 
remarkably puffy in the region of the left breast with a 
concealed pegtop, half a munched apple, and a light trifle of 
flint-stone used in the performance of a game called " duck," 
I was presented with a serviceable copy of Shakespeare, and 
immediately entered on an enthusiastic study of the same. 
In a very little time I had made such progress as to identify 
very many persons with the characters in the plays ; thus, a 
hump-backed blacksmith, a morose ill-conditioned fellow, 
always snarling at us boys over the half-hatch door of his 
forge, stood for Caliban ; the fat man with the bald head, 
who was always taking turnpike-tickets with one hand and 
mopping himself with the other, was obviously Falstaff ; the 
headmaster was Prospero (somewhat hazy this, but if I 
remember rightly, a confused mixture of the former's cane 
and the latter's wand) ; the French usher was Dr. Caius ; 
and Sneesh, the tobacconist and newsvendor, whose shop- 
door was graced by a wooden Highlander, a perfect 


Tantalus, in the way he was always expecting a pinch of 
snuff and never got it, was Macbeth. Nor were the minor 
characters unfilled. I particularly remember that I identified 
the proprietor of the oil-and-pickle shop in the High Street 
as Rumour — perhaps on account of his establishment being 
"full of tongues;" while both the famous carriers of the 
Rochester Inn Yard, those good fellows who wanted Cut's 
saddle beaten, who so heartily abused the oats, who had a 
gammon of bacon and two razes of ginger to be delivered as 
far as Charing Cross, and who showed such an invincible 
disinclination to lend Gadshill a lantern, were embodied in 
Cokeham, who connected us with the metropolis. A sharp, 
clever, 'cute man, Cokeham, with a moist eye and a red 
nose, and an invariable crape "hatband, respected by the 
masters, popular with the boys (we made a subscription for 
him when his gray mare was supposed to have staked 
herself in the night in Upton's fields, and bought him a 
fresh horse, only regretting our money when we learned 
that Cokeham himself had staked her to trot against a 
butcher's horse, and won the match, and had then sold her 
for fifteen pounds to the loser), punctual in his delivery of 
home-sent cakes and play-boxes, and never "telling" when 
a shower of stones would rattle against his tilted cart as he 
passed the playground wall. There was not very much 
difference, possibly, between the Rochester carriers of 
Henry the Fourth's time and Cokeham. Until very lately, 
" carrying " seems to have been a fine old Conservative 
institution, and with the exception of the substitution of a 
tilted-cart for Cut's pack-saddle, and a few other minor 
details of that kind, to have gone on in a very jog-trot 
fashion. In a small and very humble fashion the Rochester 
men, even to this day, have their descendants : walking 
through some behindhand suburb, one may still observe a 
parlour-window decorated with a small placard bearing a 
capital letter of the alphabet, a bouncing B, or a dropsical 


and swollen S — the initial letter of Bolland, or Swubble, the 
village-carrier, who furnishes his clients with these mystic 
symbols of indication, to be placed in the window when his 
services are required. 

But so far as London and what is commonly known as 
the London district are concerned, the old body of carriers 
has been entirely superseded by the London Parcels- 
Delivery Company, which was established in 1837, and 
which, after many severe struggles at the outset, has become 
a recognised and necessary institution, admirably conducted, 
serviceable to the public, and remunerative to its share- 
holders. Its principal establishment is in Rolls' Yard, 
Fetter Lane, where the whole of the practical detail is 
devised and carried out under the superintendence of a 
manager, who has been in the company's service since its 
earliest days. The plan originated by the Post Office, and 
in force therein until the recent division of London into 
districts, is followed by the Parcels-Delivery Company. 
Every parcel collected for delivery is brought into Rolls' 
Yard, and sent out thence, even though it was originally 
only going from one street in the suburb to another a 
hundred yards off, and this is found to afford the only 
efficient system of check. In all respectable and thriving 
neighbourhoods, at graduated distances according to the 
amount of business to be done, the company has its 
agents for the receipt of the parcels to be conveyed. 
These agents, who are paid by a percentage on the 
number and amount of their transactions, were at the 
outset nearly all keepers of Post-office Receiving-houses. 
It was naturally thought that such persons would be 
the most respectable in their various neighbourhoods, 
and their holding their little government appointments 
was a guarantee of their position. But, like other 
great creatures, the Post Office has its weakness, one of 
which is found to be an overweening jealousy ; it ill 


brooked the divided attention which its receivers bestowed 
upon the Parcels -Delivery Company; but when rivals 
started up and called themselves the Parcel Post and 
Parcel Mail, then St. Martin-le-Grand rose up in fury, 
called to his aid the services of the redoubtable Mr. Peacock, 
well known in connection with dishonest postmen and 
mornings at Bow Street; and having, with the great hammer 
of the law, smashed the rash innovators who had dared to 
appropriate those sacred words " post " and " mail," which 
a sagacious legislature has dedicated solely to St. Martin's 
use, St. Martin issued an edict forbidding his servants to 
have anything to do with receipt or despatch of parcels for 
whatsoever company, and commanding them to serve him 
and him alone. So since then the company have selected 
the best agents they could find, furnishing them with a blue 
board, with a well-executed picture of a delivery-cart pro- 
ceeding at a rapid rate — which board, in many instances, is 
imitated as closely as possible by the carrier of the vicinity 
who places it at the door of a neighbouring shop, and, 
thanks to the heedlessness and ignorance of domestic 
servants generally, obtains a certain share of the patronage 
intended for the company. 

Again, following the example of the Post Office, the 
Parcels-Delivery Company have an inner and an outer 
circle, one not exceeding three miles from Rolls' Yard, the 
other extending somewhat over twelve miles from the same 
point. The farthest places embraced are Twickenham 
Common in the south-west, and Plumstead in the south- 
east. In the far-lying districts there are two deliveries a 
day ; nearer localities have four deliveries. There is a 
small difference in the rates charged between the two 
" circles ; " but in both the collection and delivery are 
made by the ordinary carts, though in the City, where the 
general class of parcels is cumbrous and weighty, the 
collections are made by pair-horse vans. 

The company possesses about eighty carts and about a 


hundred and sixty horses. Although there are some thirty 
stables scattered about London belonging to it, the majority 
of the horses, about a hundred, are stabled in Rolls' Yard, 
They are good serviceable-looking animals, better in stamp 
and shape than either the omnibus or the cab-horses, being- 
larger boned, stronger, and altogether less "weedy"-looking; 
they cost more too, averaging forty pounds apiece. Each 
horse works five days out of the seven, and covers in his 
journeys about thirty miles a day. To every cart are 
attached a driver, and a boy who acts as deliverer; the 
former with wages of twenty-five shillings a week, the latter 
fourteen shillings, with such little perquisites as they may- 
obtain from the public. The general conduct of these men 
and lads is, I was told, excellent, and never — save at 
Christmas, when the generosity of the public takes the 
form of gin — is there any irregularity. Then, looking at 
the extra work imposed on them, the rigidity of discipline 
is wholesomely relaxed, and the superintending eye suffers, 
itself to wink a little. For at Christmas the labour in Rolls' 
Yard is tremendous. During the four days preceding. 
Christmas Day last year (1864), upwards of thirty -two 
thousand parcels, principally of geese, turkeys, game, oyster- 
barrels, and cheeses, were conveyed by the company. At 
such a time the manager does not take off his clothes, and 
looks upon sleep as an exceptional luxury. 

I had proceeded thus far in my "carrying" experiences, 
and was debating where to turn for further information, 
when the question was settled far me — as many questions 
are — by my friends, enterprising creatures who rushed at 
me, crying " Pickford's ! " Old gentlemen told me how this 
very firm of Pickford's had been carriers by land upwards, 
of a century, even before canals were introduced by the 
Duke of Bridgewater in 1758; how that they then com- 
menced the water-traffic, and carried it on with the same 
regularity as they do their present business, but in rather a 
different manner, as it then took five days to convey goods 


from London to Manchester — a feat which is now performed 
in twelve hours. Young gentlemen were full of the reckless 
daring of Pickford's drivers, the power of Pickford's horses, 
and the weight of Pickford generally. Ladies, young and 
old, agreed in condemning Pickford as a " horrid " person, 
who blocked up the road perpetually, and prevented cabs 
and carriages drawing up at shop-doors. So I decided on 
calling upon Pickford — who, by-the-way, is not Pickford 
at all — and having been most courteously received, and 
accredited for all the information I required to a practical 
gentleman, whose kindness and readily-given information I 
hereby acknowledge, f set to work to take Pickford's measure, 
and to find out all about him. 

I first called on Pickford — who is not Pickford — in 
Wood Street, at the Castle Inn — which is not an inn, and 
which has not the least appearance of ever having been one ; 
for Pickford has so gutted it and twisted it for his own 
purposes ; has thrown out so much yard, constantly resound- 
ing with champing horses and lumbering vans; has enclosed 
so much gallery ; has established so many offices, public 
and private ; has so perforated it with speaking-tube and 
telegraph-wire ; and has so completely steeped the place 
in business, doing away with any appearance of inn-comfort 
and hotel-luxury, that the idea of anybody's taking his ease 
in his Castle Inn is ridiculous on the face of it. Here 
Pickford, who is not Pickford, and of whom it may be 
further remarked that he is three gentlemen rolled into 
one, has his head-quarters for correspondence and general 
management ; but here he professes to have nothing to 
show us beyond the ordinary routine of a mercantile office, 
of course marked with the special individuality of the carry- 
ing business. Wanting to see Pickford in full work, I must 
go to one of his depots — Camden Town, City Basin, 
Haydon Square in the Minories, which will I visit ? I 
choose Camden Town. 

At Camden Town — invariably abbreviated in Pick- 


fordian language into Camden — Pickford, who is the 
recognised agent of the London and North-Western Railway 
Company, has enormous premises adjoining the goods- 
station, and is to be seen in full swing. Employing more 
than nine hundred horses in London, he keeps three 
hundred of them at Camden. Going into these stables, we 
are at once struck with an air of substantiality in connection 
with Pickford, which is different from anything we have yet 
seen during this tour of inspection of the ways and means 
of " Riding London." There is special potentiality in his 
stables, with their asphalte pavements and their large 
swinging oaken bars, in his big horses, in his strong men, 
in his enormous vans. Most of the horses are splendid 
animals, many of them standing over sixteen hands high, 
and all in excellent condition. They are all bought by one 
man, the recognised buyer for the establishment, who 
attends the principal fairs throughout the country ; the 
average cost-price of each is forty-five pounds. They are 
fed on a mixture of bruised oats, crushed Indian corn, and 
peas, which is found to be capital forage. Each horse, 
when bought, is branded with a number on the front of 
his fore-feet hoofs, and is named ; name and number are 
entered in the horse-book ; and by them the horse's career, 
where he may be working, and anything special relating to 
him, is checked off until he dies or is sold. Pickford's 
horses last on an average seven or eight years, and then 
they are killed ; but in many instances, when no longer fit 
for roughing it over the stones — for what the dealer poeti- 
cally described as the " 'ammer, 'ammer, 'ammer on the 'ard 
'igh road " — they will be bought by some farmer for plough 
work ; and, after a hard London life, will peacefully end 
their days in some secluded village. The last duty which 
some of them perform while in Pickford's service is to pull 
the trucks which arrive by the line under the shed. These 
trucks, arriving in long strings from all parts of the line, are 
shunted into an enormous covered space, and are then 


unloaded on what is called the " bank," a broad landing- 
stage, on the other side of which are the empty vans ready- 
to receive the goods, and cany them off to the various 
districts into which Pickford, in common with the Post 
Office, has divided London. On this bank are placed at 
intervals numerous desks, by each of which is a weigh-bridge. 
By the truck which is being unloaded stands a clerk, known 
as the " caller-off," with the invoice in his hand ; he shouts 
out the description, destination, and proper weight of each 
article to the clerk at the desk ; the load is placed on the 
weigh-bridge, and, found correct, is freshly invoiced, and 
sent off by van. We observed a very miscellaneous col- 
lection of articles here — chairs, fenders, barrels, looking- 
glasses, pottery, and an open basket of Welsh mutton, merely 
covered by an old newspaper. There are very few accidents 
here, and, it is believed, very little undetected theft. Printed 
documents relating to the conviction of recently-discovered 
culprits — one of whom we read was a " sheeter " — were 
freely stuck about the walls. The goods, being packed in 
vans, are then sent off to their destination. The vans are 
very strong, and, judged by the weight they carry, tolerably 
light. They are all built by one firm in the Borough, at a 
cost-price of about eighty pounds each. The foot-board for 
the driver folds up on a hinge — a very convenient arrange- 
ment — and immediately under the seat there is a " boot," 
for holding the macintosh cover for goods, with which each 
driver is supplied. In these vans a ton and a half in weight 
is allowed for each horse ; that is to say, a full three-horse 
van carries between four and five tons, never more. All 
the vans, entering or leaving the establishment, pass over 
a weigh-bridge, by which, in a glass case, sit two clerks. If 
the van prove too heavily loaded, it is sent back to be 
lightened. Each van has a number conspicuously painted 
on it ; and the number, the name of the driver, the number 
of his invoice, and his place of destination, are all duly 
entered by the clerks in the glass-case. Each team of horses 


takes out for delivery and returns with two loads of goods 
daily. The bulk of the goods arrive by night-trains, and 
are at once sent out ; indeed, Manchester goods are at their 
consignee's door as soon as the invoice announcing their 
arrival is delivered by the morning's post. Every van has 
a driver and a " book-carrier," who acts as conductor and 
delivers the goods. At night, when his van is unloaded, 
and after its final journey, the book-carrier goes to his head 
office, and "books his work" — which means giving a detailed 
and statistical account of his transactions during the day. 
These accounts are then sent to Wood Street, and there 
duly filed. 

Before leaving Camden I went into the vaults, now used 
as store-cellars for pale ale by Messrs. Bass, but formerly 
Pickford's stables. These stables, holding three hundred 
horses, were full on the night when a great fire broke out, 
some seven years ago (1857). The horse-keepers go off duty 
at eleven p.m. About half-an-hour before that time the fore- 
man of the stables discovered that another portion of the 
premises was on fire. The stables were shut off by large 
gates still standing. The key of these gates the foreman 
had about him ; with great presence of mind he rushed off 
and unlocked the gates, and called to the horse-keepers to 
let loose all the horses. The order was obeyed, the horses 
were untied, and, amid the whoops and shouts of the helpers, 
came out three hundred strong, charging up the incline and 
tearing into the streets. Away they went, unfollowed and 
unsought for ; but of all those horses not one was lost. All 
were brought in during the succeeding few days from all 
parts of London, whither they had fled in their fright ; but 
none were stolen, and none were damaged. Only one horse 
was burnt, a very big beast, known as a " waggon-sitter," 
and used for backing the waggons under cranes or against 
the " banks." He was a dangerous brute, and so violent that 
only one man could manage him. This man unloosed him, 
but he would not move, and he was burnt in his stall. 


Pickford is at home in about ten other places in London, 
besides having country-houses agreeably situate at Liverpool, 
Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and where 
not. But I visited him at only one other residence — a little 
villa on the City Basin of the Regent's Canal, where, before 
railway times, all his principal business was transacted. 
Everything here was carried on much in the same manner 
as at Camden, the only noticeable feature being what is 
called the " order warehouse," corresponding very much to 
the " cloak-room " of a metropolitan railway-station, a re- 
ceptacle for things left till called for. To this order ware- 
house are sent Manchester goods or silks bought at a 
favourable turn of the market, and left in store until re- 
quired to be despatched for foreign consignment or country 
trade. Here, among this heterogeneous assemblage, we 
saw casks of glue from France ; bales of stockings and 
hosiery from Leicester ; sewing-machines, their stands and 
cases, in vast numbers from America ; barrels of soda-ash ; 
a large church-organ ; the boiler of a steam-engine ; baskets 
of shells ; piles of cheeses ; two or three hip-baths ; a bit of 
sacking full of bones ; several spruce trunks ; a sailor's 
chest ; a packet of wire for bonnet-shapes ; a parcel of 
theatrical wardrobes ; a packet of vermin-destroying powder, 
etc. etc. All these wait either a long or a short time, as the 
case may be, in Pickford's custody ; but it very rarely 
happens that they are not eventually reclaimed. 

When I took farewell of Pickford, who is not Pickford, 
I left him with a smile upon his face — a smile which seemed 
to say : " You've got a smattering of me, a taste, a notion ; 
but it would take you months to learn all my business." I 
nodded in reply, on the Lord Burleigh principle, intending 
my nod to convey that I knew all that, but that I had got 
sufficient for my purpose ; the rest was his business, and 
very well he does it. 



Vast numbers of people are, for a comparatively trifling 
sum, conveyed from one large town to another, or from the 
heart of a populous neighbourhood to sylvan scenery or 
picturesque surroundings, and then, after a few days' revel 
in the unwonted peace and air and freedom, are taken back 
to their work-a-day life. Wanting to know something of the 
statistics and general management of the enormous excursion- 
trains which, during the summer months, convey them, I 
sought for the longest-established manager of such expedi- 
tions, and found him at home nestling in a large newly- 
fronted house, under the shadow of the British Museum. 
The front door of this house, on which was a large brass 
plate duly inscribed with the excursion agent's honoured 
name, stood open, and by the side of a glass door within, 
where the visitors' bell is usually to be found, I read the 
word " Office," and entering, found my agent awaiting my 
anticipated arrival. The house is, as I afterwards learned, 
a private hotel; but the neighbourhood being severely 

* The Excursion Agent here described is Mr. Thomas Cook, of 
Great Russell Street, London, and Granby Street, Leicester. After 
this article appeared in All the Year Round, I had many letters of 
inquiry from unknown correspondents. I referred them all to Mr. 
Cook, and I have reason to believe that none of them regretted the 


respectable, and the neighbours objecting to anything so 
low as a public announcement on a board, my agent defers 
to their prejudices, describes his house as a boarding-house, 
or receptacle for his customers while in town ; and, being a 
Temperance man himself, conducts his establishment on 
strict Temperance principles. And at the very outset of 
our conversation my agent let me know that he was not a 
contractor for excursion trains or trips, that he had no 
responsibility, and that the work was entirely performed by 
the railway companies over which the trips were taken ; that 
he made suggestions as to the routes, etc. ; that his profit 
accrued from head-money or percentage on those whom he 
induced to travel ; in fact that he was a traveller on com- 
mission for various railway companies, in which capacity he 
paid all his own advertising, generally a heavy amount. 

For more than twenty-three years my agent has been at 
this work, arranging excursions between England and 
Scotland, during which time more than a million passengers 
have been under his charge. He has arrangements with 
every railway company that can be made available for 
Scotch trips, and sometimes begins to gather the nucleus of 
his company far away in the extreme west of England, 
then sweeping up the West Cornwall, the Cornwall and 
South Devon, the Bristol and Exeter, the Midland, the 
North-Eastern, and the North British railways, he reaches 
Edinburgh, into which city he will pour more than a couple 
of thousand people by special trains within a period of 
twenty-four hours. 

My agent does not profess to make hotel arrangements 
for his flock, but he takes care to advise hotel-keepers of a 
coming influx; and he thinks that hotel-keepers in the 
Highlands and elsewhere are kept in order by a list of their 
prices being published in his programme. At some places 
far away, such as Bannavie, in the West Highlands, by Fort 
William, and Braemar, at the period of the Highland 


gathering and games, there has been a pressure, but some- 
thing has always been arranged ; for the hotel-keepers, who 
at first were disposed to snub my agent as importing the 
wrong kind of article for them, now eagerly looked for his 
countenance and recommendation. At Oban he had esta- 
blished a set of lodgings, which he found operated as a 
wholesome check on the hotels. To carry people, not to 
feed them, is my agent's business; and, as a rule, he declines 
to enter into any agreement for boarding and lodging his 
troop, but, if they wish it, he will settle all their hotel bills 
on the road, and present them for discharge at the end of 
the trip ; and it speaks highly for the honesty of excur- 
sionists, when he declares that during his whole experience 
he has never made a bad debt amongst them, or lost a 
farthing by them. Had he ever been asked to lend any of 
them money ? Frequently ; and had never refused. He 
had lent as much as twenty pounds to one of his excur- 
sionists, an entire stranger to him, and had always been 
repaid. Had he taken any security ? Not he. Sometimes 
a gentleman would offer his watch ; but what did he want 
with a gentleman's watch ? He told him to put it in his 
pocket again. 

At Edinburgh the thousands disperse, and start off on 
different routes, according to the length of their holiday 
and the depth of their purses. Those who know the country, 
young men, and spirited people start off alone. Ladies and 
inexperienced persons remain in the flock, and go the tour, 
supervised by my agent, in a party, numbering sometimes 
as many as two hundred and fifty, half of whom are ladies. 
The ordinary tickets are useful only as far as Edinburgh, 
but there are offices in all the large towns in Scotland at 
which fresh tickets for further extended trips can be obtained. 
And here my agent, chuckling audibly, informs me that his 
tickets for coaches always have precedence, where, as is 
frequently the case, the vehicular supply is not equal to the 



tourist demand ; and the coach-proprietors being, in most 
cases, also hotel-proprietors, it is not to be wondered at that 
there is loud and frequent grumbling from the outside public 
at the best places in inns and on the coaches being given 
to the excursionists. Of these extended trips, the most 
favourite is that including Glasgow and Inverness, Staffa, 
and Iona j the reason, perhaps, being that it is one of the 
cheapest as well as the loveliest, and with it there is con- 
nected a circumstance of great interest. For, with a certain 
amount of proper pride, my agent tells me that a series of 
improvements which, during the last few years, has been 
made in the condition of the poor fishing population of 
Staffa and Iona, is principally due to his excursionists. 
When they are inspecting the old cathedral at Iona, my 
agent takes the opportunity of introducing the subject of the 
natives' poverty and their hard lives, and appeals to the 
generosity of his flock ; the excursionists, holiday-making 
and happy, are in proper cue for the reception of such an 
appeal, and respond liberally ; so liberally, that by their 
subscriptions twenty-four fishing-boats have been built for 
the poor fishermen of the place. Many poor boys from 
these desolate regions have also been provided with com- 
fortable situations in large towns. My agent also informs 
me that, during his whole experience, he has never had an 
accident with any of his people, that no one has ever been 
taken ill — nothing beyond a little over fatigue, no serious 
illness — and that he has had constant cases of love-matches 
made up on the trip, and has taken the happy couple their 
honeymoon excursion in the following year. 

Asked as to the character of the company usually 
availing itself of his tickets, my agent responded shortly, 
"first-rate;" but, on its being explained to him that the 
social status rather than the moral character of his excur- 
sionists is what is inquired after, he became more com- 
municative. The destination of the excursion, he explained, 


greatly determined its numbers and the social classes from 
which it was made up. The trips to Edinburgh, and the 
shorter excursions in England, attract tradesmen and their 
wives ; merchants' clerks away for a week's holiday, roughing 
it with a knapsack, and getting over an immense number of 
miles before they return ; swart mechanics, who seem never 
to be able entirely to free themselves from traces of their 
life-long labour, but who, my agent tells me, are by no 
means the worst informed, and are generally the most 
interested about the places they visit. In the return trips 
from Scotland to England come many students of the 
schools and universities ; raw-boned, hard-worked youths, 
who, in defiance of the popular belief, actually do return to 
their native country for a time, probably to make a future 
raid into and settlement in the land whose nakedness they 
had spied into in early youth. As to .Swiss excursions, the 
company is of a very different order ; the Whitsuntide trip 
has a good deal of the cockney element in it, and is mostly 
composed of very high-spirited people, whose greatest delight 
in life is " having a fling," and who do Paris, and rush through 
France, and through Switzerland to Chamounix, compare 
every place they are taken to with the views which formed 
part of the exhibition at the Egyptian Hall, carry London 
everywhere about with them in dress, habits, and conversa- 
tion, and rush back, convinced that they are great travellers. 
"From these roisterers the July and September excursionists 
differ greatly : ushers and governesses, practical people from 
the provinces, and representatives of the better style of the 
London mercantile community who form their component 
parts ; all travel as if impressed with the notion that they 
are engaged in fulfilling the wishes of a lifetime, in a pleasant 
duty never to be repeated. They stop at all the principal 
towns, visiting all the curiosities to be seen in them, and 
are full of discussion among themselves, proving that they 
are nearly all thoroughly well up in the subject. Many of 

e 2 


them carry books of reference with them, and nearly aB 
take notes. 

I inquired whether my agent always accompanied his 
flock, or whether he occasionally permitted them to wander 
alone. He told me that on the Swiss trips he made a 
point of being with them from the starting-place to the 
destination, and that he never considered himself free from 
responsibility — though of course there could be no kind of 
claim on him — until they Avere all landed in England. 
He should pursue this course on the Italian and all- 
Continental excursions ; but in England he frequently did 
not meet his tourists until their arrival at the first large 
provincial town on their route, when he " turned up 
promiscuously as it were." I asked him what was gained 
by remaining with the large body, and not rambling away 
by oneself. When, in reply, my agent hinted that his 
society and guidance were the advantages in question, he 
looked at me so sternly that I determined to press him 
with no further questions of that nature. 

In the Exhibition years of '51 and '62, my agent, for the 
first time since 1846, had no Scotch tourist trips, being 
engaged by the Midland Railway Company as manager of 
their Exhibition excursion trains, in which capacity he 
supervised the conveyance to London of above a hundred 
and fifty thousand persons; and in those years my agent com- 
menced business in another line. The excursionists, once 
landed in London, wanted somewhere to live in, and, with 
the usual caution of country people, distrusted the touters 
and advertisements greeting them on every side. Remark- 
ing this feature in the first batch which he brought up, my 
agent immediately engaged six private family houses 
" furnished for the season," as boarding-houses for the 
richer members of his flock, who, for six shillings and six- 
pence a day each, were provided with bed, breakfast, and a 
meat-tea. For the working people he took a block of new 


"houses, two hundred model cottages of two or three rooms 
each, in the neighbourhood of Fulham, furnished them at a 
cost of about a thousand pounds, and charged their occu- 
pants half-a-crown a day each for bed, breakfast, and tea ; 
•dinners were not provided. About twelve thousand persons 
were lodged here during the season ; among them three 
delegations of skilled workmen from Paris, fifty in number, 
one delegation of fifty from Turin, and two of forty each 
from Germany. Mr. Foster, the member for Bradford, also 
brought up five hundred and forty of his workpeople for a 
three days' treat, and lodged them with my agent. Several 
of the railway companies recommended my agent's lodgings 
on their excursion-bills — a concession never before made. 

Although my agent is perfectly amiable on all other 
subjects, I find one topic on which he is absolutely ferocious, 
and that is the supposed danger of excursion trains. 
Obviously he has expected me to touch upon this point, for 
I no sooner utter the words, " How about the danger ? " 
than he stops me by holding up one hand, while with the 
other he produces a written paper, which he delivers to me 
and begs me to " cast an eye over." Casting two eyes over 
it, I find it to be a tabular statement, showing that in the thir- 
teen years between 185 1 and 1 863, both inclusive, the Midland 
Railway Company conveyed two millions six hundred and 
seventy-six thousand six hundred and eighty-eight passengers 
by excursion trains, being an average of two hundred and 
five thousand nine hundred a year. My agent further 
informed me that the only serious accident which ever 
happened to an excursion train on the Midland Railway 
was in 1862 at Market Harborough, when one life was lost 
and several passengers seriously injured. This accident 
cost the company eighteen thousand pounds in compensa- 
tions, law expenses, loss of property, etc. To insure the 
safety of these excursion trains special arrangements are 
made, the best guards are appointed to conduct them, and 


in every case an experienced inspecting guard accompanies 
the train to see that all the others do their duty. A pro- 
gramme of excursion trains all over the line is published 
weekly, a copy being supplied to every station-master, guard, 
or other responsible officer ; besides which, special notices 
are supplied to all pointsmen and other stationary servants,. 
in anticipation of the coming of the trains. In defence of 
his system, my agent also urged that all great public demon- 
strations were encouraged and aided by excursion trains ; 
and that societies for the promotion of religious, social, and 
philanthropic objects were often indebted to the railway 
companies for the crowds brought together to attend them, 
and in many cases for pecuniary aid, in the shape of per- 
centage on the earnings ; that excursion and tourist 
arrangements constituted the chief support of many watering- 
places ; whilst the benefits derived by the humbler classes 
is entirely dependent on such arrangements ; and that the 
visits paid by large numbers of excursionists to Chatsworth, 
and other great houses thrown open to them by their rich 
owners, did an immense amount of social good, and gave 
rise to the growth of pleasant feeling between the benefited 
and the benefactors. 

It was in 1855 that my agent, longing like Alexander 
for fresh worlds to conquer, bethought him that the Paris 
Exhibition, then being held, would probably prove attrac- 
tive to excursionists ; and thither he organised a trip, which 
provided for a visit to Paris, thence proceeded through 
France to Strasburg, and returned home down the Rhine. 
So successful was this experiment, that ever since he has 
repeated it annually; but, as he expressed himself, he "was 
never able to feel his way" to Switzerland till 1863, when, in 
person, he conducted three parties (one of them three hun- 
dred strong) from England to Geneva. My agent's tickets 
for an excursion from London to Geneva cost, first-class six 
guineas, second-class four pounds twelve shillings and six- 


pence ; they are available for twenty-eight days, and allow 
of the journey being broken at Rouen, Paris, Fontainebleau, 
Dijon, Mac_on, and all the principal towns in Switzerland. 
Supplemental tickets are issued in Switzerland at twenty per 
cent, under the usual prices, and nearly all the excursionists 
visit Chamounix. There are three regular Swiss trips in the 
course of the year : one at Whitsuntide (" Not a good time," 
eaid my agent, in reply to my elevated eyebrows, " but it is 
merely an extension of my annual excursion to Paris") ; one 
in the first week of July — the largest and best, principally on 
account of its being vacation-time in the schools, and my 
agent's excursion being much favoured by ushers and gover- 
nesses ; and one in September. On all these occasions my 
agent takes charge of and acts as guide, philosopher, and 
friend to the party. I suggested that his knowledge of 
foreign languages must be severely taxed. Then he smiled, 
and told me that was provided for by his knowing nothing 
but English ; but that mattered little, as there was always 
one of his party at his elbow to explain what he suggested. 
His hotel arrangements are all made beforehand ; in every 
principal town in Switzerland he has one regular hotel, 
with fixed prices, eight to nine francs a day for everything, 
attendance included. "And the best hotels too, mind you," 
said he emphatically, " the best hotels — such as the Royal 
at Chamounix." 

Emboldened by his success, my agent confided to me 
his idea of, during the following summer, enabling English 
excursionists to see for themselves what it is that the Romans 
really do, and which we are all expected to emulate while 
we are temporary denizens of the Eternal City. In plain 
words, he purposes taking two special parties to Italy, one in 
July and one in September, over one of the Alpine passes, 
Mont Cenis, St. Gothard, or the Splugen, through the Lake 
district, to Como and Milan, with the option of running on 
to Turin, Florence, Venice, and Rome itself ! He is led to 


expect a very large concession from the Italian railways, and 
has his plans pretty nearly matured.* 

Now surely this kind of thing is a good kind of thing, 
and ought to be encouraged. It is right that a hard-working 
man, labouring in one spot for fifty weeks in the year, should, 
in his fortnight's holiday, betake himself to some place as 
far away from and as different from his ordinary abode as lies 
within the reach of his purse ; and this he is only able to do 
by the aid of such providers as my excursion agent. And 
each year should, if possible, be spent in a different locality. 
Ramsgate and Margate are good, fresh, and wholesome ; 
and Southend, though it would be improved if its pier were 
a little shorter, and its water a little Salter, is good too ; but 
as even perpetual partridge palled upon the epicure, so does 
a constant recurrence to one sea-side place pall upon the 
holiday-seeker. In the excursion-train he can fly to fresh 
fields and new pastures ; he can see the glorious English 
cathedrals, the gray Highlands, the quaint Belgian cities, 
the. castled Rhine crags, the glaciers, mountains, and water- 
falls of Switzerland, and perhaps the blue plains of Italy, 
for comparatively a very trifling sum; and these seen, he 
will return with a fresh zest for his home and for his work, 
and a fresh appreciation for all that is beautiful in nature or 
great in history. 

If these then be, as I fancy they are, some of the results 
of the work of my excursion agent — work in itself requiring 
clearness of intellect, and honesty and stability of purpose 
— I think I have a right to claim for him a position, modest 
but useful, in that great army of civilisation which is 
marching through the world. 

* This excursion was made with very great success. A friend of 
mine, well known in journalism, was one of the party, and has in an 
amusing article chronicled his thorough approval of Mr. Cook's arrange- 



If the writer of these presents prides himself upon one 
point — and he is afraid he prides himself upon a good 
many — it is on his possessing an extraordinary stock of 
theatrical information. This stock is derived entirely from 
a weekly paper which is dropped down his area every 
Sunday morning, and the perusal of which is one of his 
greatest enjoyments. This journal,* well connected and 
highly respectable, is the chronicle of the theatrical, 
musical, and "entertaining" world; its columns teem with 
advertisements from professionals of every description; from 
it the manager learns what talent is disengaged, the actor 
what situations are vacant, the author where his pieces are 
being played, and to whom he is to look for remuneration ; 
it contains a synopsis of all the theatrical performances in 
this country, and American hints as to new pieces which are 
coming out across the Atlantic ; it gives profuse and 
erudite criticisms on those which have been recently played; 
it supports in vigorous language all dramatic charities and 
institutions ; it attacks in fiery terms any short-seeing stiff- 
necked bigotry — in a word, it is the actor's hebdomadal 
monitor and friend. 

But woe be to you, oh general public, if (not being 

* The Era. 


theatrical) you take refuge in the excellent newspaper that 
has enlightened the writer, and purpose therewith solacing 
the tedium of your journey to Bolton-le-Moors or Stow-on- 
the-Wold. How can you grasp the fact that there are at 
present wanted at the Belvidere Rooms, Seagate, " Heavy 
Leading Gentleman, Juvenile Leading ditto, Second Low 
Comedy to combine Singing, Heavy Leading Lady to 
combine First Old Woman; also few good Ability Ladies and 
Gentlemen ? " What do you make of the announcement 
that " a couple of first-rate funny niggers may write ? " 
What is your notion of a "window-distributor who can 
insure a large display ? " Would anything puzzle you more 
than to find " tenants for the Rifle Gallery, Hermit's Cave, 
Fancy Bazaar, Tea and Coffee Stands, and Confectionary Bar 
at the Peckham Paradise ; " unless it were to discover that 
you had suddenly obtained the appointment of " stunning, 
first-rate, go-ahead agent in advance " to the " Lancashire 
clog-dancer and dulcimer-player, and the comic gentleman 
(Irish)?" You have to dispose of no paintings on glass of 
the best description, suitable for a pair of lanterns with 
three-and-a-half-inch condensers, to use with oxy-calamic 
and oil lights ; you could make but little use of the fighting- 
tiger, the property of the late King of Oude, and Champion 
of the Arena ; you would stand no higher in the estimation 
of your serious aunt at Clapham, from whom you have 
expectations, even though you were to appear at Ebenezer 
Villa in company with Mr. and Mrs. Jacopo Bligh, the 
celebrated duologue duettists ; neither would your Angelina 
love you more dearly were you to have "pegtop whiskers." 
or even the " real imperceptible shape," which is not to be 
equalled at the price. Worse than Greek, Hebrew, Double- 
Dutch, or that mysterious language passing under the title of 
Abracadabra, would be these advertisements to you. But 
the writer was cradled in a property washing basket, was 
nursed by a clown, was schooled at Dr. Birchem's establish- 


merit for young gentlemen (Scene 3d': Usher, Mr. Whackem- 
hard ; scholars, Masters Sleepy, Dozy, Yawn, Sluggard, and 
Snore ; Dunce, Master Foolscap), and has since graduated 
in the university of the great theatrical newspaper. 

An advertisement in bold type, at the top of the second 
column of the paper, runs thus : " Dacre Pontifex. — This 
popular tragedian appears at Frome, Glastonbury, Yeovil, 
Lyme Regis, and at Bridport, on the 25th of April. 
Managers wishing to secure the services of this celebrated 
artiste are requested to apply to the theatrical agent, Mr. 
Trapman, Rouge Street, Blanco Square." Ah ! a very few years 
ago and the inhabitants of Frome and Glastonbury might as 
well have wished for a sight of the extinct dodo as of Dacre 
Pontifex ! Managers of the first London theatres fought for 
him; it was whispered that marchionesses were dying in love 
for him ; to be seen in his company was an honour even for 
the most radiant gentleman in the crackest of the crack 
regiments. Dacre Pontifex had been but a short time in 
London when he attracted the notice of Mr. Bellows, the 
great tragedian, then about to start on his American tour. 
Mr. Bellows took Pontifex with him, taught him, polished 
him, and turned him into a master of his art. When he 
returned to England, one of those fits of Shakespearian 
enthusiasm which periodically seize upon the town had just 
begun to terminate ; newspapers were referring to the Bard 
and the Swan, and several gentlemen were lashing them- 
selves into a state of fury touching the immoralities of the 
French stage, and the triumphs of vice. Wuff was the 
manager of the T. R. Hatton Garden at that time, and Wuff 
was a man of the age. He knew when Pontifex was to return, 
and no sooner had the fast-sailing Cunard packet Basin 
been descried off Liverpool, than Wuff and the pilot were 
on board together ; and in the course of half-an-hour a 
document duly signed by Pontifex was in WufFs pocket. 
" I'll bill you in letters three feet long, my boy, on every 


•dead wall in town ; and please the pigs, we'll resuscitate the 
British drayma, and put Billy on his legs again ! " 

Shakespeare, thus familiarly spoken of by Mr. Wuff as 
Billy, proved once more the powers of his attraction, and 
the success of the new actor was beyond all question. 
Whether he raved in Hamlet, languished in Romeo, stormed 
in Othello, or joked in Benedick, he invariably drew 
tremendous houses, and received overwhelming applause. 
His portrait was in the illustrated journals, and in chromo 
lithographic colours on the title- page of the Pontifex Waltz 
(dedicated to him by his humble admirer Sebastian Bach 
Faggles, chef d'orchestre, T. R. Hatton Garden). Old Silas 
Bulgrubber, the stage-doorkeeper, grumbled furiously at the 
number of applications for Mr. Pontifex, and at the shower 
of delicately-tinted notes for that gentleman which were 
perpetually pouring into Silas's dingy box. The odour of the 
patchouli and sandal-wood essences from these notes 
actually prevailed over the steam of the preparation of 
onions and mutton which was always brought in a yellow 
basin to Silas at twelve o'clock, and which made the porter's 
habitation smell like a curious combination of a hairdresser's 
and a cook-shop. Wuff, the impresario, as in those days 
the favourite journal not unfrequently designated him, was 
in ecstasies ; his celebrated red-velvet waistcoat was creased 
with constant bowings to the aristocracy of the land. He 
gave a magnificent dinner to Pontifex at Greenwich, at 
which was present a large and miscellaneous company, 
including the Marquis of Groovington, who had married 
Miss Cholmeleigh, late of the T. R. H. G. ; Sir Charles 
Fakeaway; Four-in-hand Farquhar, of the Royal Rhinoceros 
Guards, Mauve ; Captain Kooleese, Tommy Tosh, well 
known at the clubs ; Mr. Tapgrove, the dramatic author ; 
Mr. Replevin, Q.C., the Star of the Old Bailey, and 
Flonorary Counsel to the Society of Distressed Scene-shifters; 
Mr. Flote, the stage-manager ; Slogger, Champion of the 



Middle Weights ; Signor Drumsi Polstoodoff, the Egyptian 
Fire-annihilator ; and many others. The banquet cost Wuff 
a hundred pounds, caused the consumption of an immense 
quantity of wine, and ended in the Fire-annihilator's spring- 
ing into the middle of the table, kicking the decanters on to 
the floor, and in a strong Irish accent requesting any gentle- 
man present to tread on the tail of his coat. 

From this Greenwich dinner may be dated the beginning 
of Pontifex's extremely bad end. That little dare-devil, 
Tommy Tosh, and that fastest of fast men, Four-in-hand 
Farquhar, who were first introduced to Pontifex at the 
Wuffian banquet, no sooner made his acquaintance, than 
they showed themselves perfectly enraptured with his com- 
pany. They pervaded the dressing-room which he shared 
with Mr. Deadwate, the low comedian, and "stood" brandy- 
and-water to that eminent buffo ; they waited for Pontifex 
at the close of the performance, and took him away to 
Ff aymarket orgies, to private suppers, to where the frequenters 
of the Little Nick worshipped their divinity with closed 
doors and on a green-baize-covered altar, and to every scene 
of dissipation which the town could boast — or not boast — 
of. One sultry day in July, when Wuff was thinking of 
speedily closing the T. R. H. G., and transporting all his 
company to some seaside watering-place for the combined 
benefit of their health and his pocket, Mr. Flote tapped at 
the door of the managerial sanctum, and entering, informed 
his chief, that though the orchestra was already " rung in," 
Mr. Pontifex, who was to appear in the first scene, had not 
arrived at the theatre. The overture was played and twice 
repeated, and during the third time of its repetition Pontif x 
arrived. Mr. Flote, who had been watching for him at the 
statrc-door, turned ghastly pale when he saw him, and 
followed him anxiously to his dressing-room, then descended 
to the win^, and waited until he should appear. The British 
public, which had grown irate at being kept waiting, and 


which had treated with the utmost scorn the explanation 
which Mr. Slyme, the " apologist " of the theatre, had offered 
for the delay, was now softened and soothed by the expecta- 
tion of their favourite's appearance ; and when the cue 
which immediately preceded his entrance was given, those 
acquainted with the play commenced an applause which 
swelled into a tumultuous roar of delight. The effect of 
this ovation upon its recipient was very singular ; he started 
back, covered his head with his hand, and staggered to a 
chair, into which he fell. The applause ceased on the 
instant, and in the sudden lull Mr. Flote's voice was heard 
urging somebody " for Heaven's sake to rouse himself." 
Mr. Pontifex then rose from the chair, balanced himself for 
a few seconds on his heels, looked gravely at the audience, 
informed them in a high-pitched key that he was " all right," 
and fell flat on his back. In vain did Mr. Slyme, Mr. Flote, 
and even the great Wuff himself — that theatrical Mokanna 
who was never unveiled to the public save to receive their 
compliments upon his transformation-scene on Boxing-nights 
- — appear before the baize and appeal to the audience. It 
would not brook Mr. Dacre Pontifex any longer ; and 
hence we find his advertisement in the favourite journal 
and his intention to visit the lively localities already set 

What next, among the advertisements in the favourite 
journal? "To be let, with extensive cellarage attached, 
suitable for a wine-merchant, the Cracksideum Theatre 
Royal. Apply at the stage-door." The Cracksideum to 
let again ! That old theatre has seen some strange vicissi- 
tudes. Once, it was taken by Mr. Stolberg Stentor, a 
country tragedian of enormous powers of lung, who had 
roared his way to the highest point of theatrical felicity in 
the Bradford and Sheffield regions, and who only wanted 
an opening in London to be- acknowledged as the head of 
the theatrical profession. A good round sum of money, 


honestly earned by hard work in the provinces, did Mr. 
Stentor bring with him to London, and the old Cracksideum 
looked bravely in the new paint and gilding which he 
bestowed upon it. A good man, Mr. Stentor, an energetic, 
bustling, never-tiring actor, a little too self-reliant perhaps, 
playing all the principal characters himself, and supporting 
himself by an indifferent company, but still a man who 
meant to do something, and who did it. What he did was 
to get through his two thousand pounds in an inconceivably 
short space of time. The public rather liked him at first, 
then bore him patiently, then tolerated him impatiently, 
then forsook him altogether. Stentor as Hamlet in the inky 
cloak, Stentor as Richard in the velvet ermine, Stentor as 
the Stranger in the Hessian boots, Stentor as Claude 
Melnotte, Stentor as the Lonely Lion of the Ocean, Stentor 
as Everybody in Everything, grew to be a bore, and was 
left alone in his glory. Still he never gave in ; he received 
visitors sitting in his chair of state ; after the first word he 
never glanced at a visitor, but continued practising the 
celebrated Stentor scowl and Stentor eye business in the 
mirror ; he kept the carpenters at a respectful tragic distance; 
he awed the little ballet-girls with the great Stentor stride ; 
and he remained monarch of all he surveyed, until he played 
his last great part of Stentor in the Insolvent Court, the 
minor characters being sustained by one Mr. Commissioner, 
and some " supers " named Sargood and Linklater. His 
appearance here was so great a success that his audience 
requested to see him again in six months' time. 

An Italian, the Favourite Prestidigitateur of his Majesty 
the King of the Leeboo Islands ; Mr. Lens's Starry Carpet, 
or the Heavens at a Glance; the Female Wilbcrforcists, or 
Emancipated Darky Serenaders ; and Mr. Michael O'Hone, 
the celebrated Hibernian orator — succeeded each other 
rapidly at the Cracksideum, and, after a few nights' per- 
formance, vanished, leaving no trace behind, save in their 


unpaid gas-bills. One morning,- mankind read in the 
favourite journal that the house had been taken, and would 
shortly be opened by Mr. Frank Likely, with the assistance 
of a talented company. I walked down to the theatre to- 
satisfy myself, and saw in a minute that the announcement 
was true. A chaos reigned in the interior of the old 
theatre ; all the worm-eaten pit-benches, under which the rats 
had so often enjoyed a healthy supper of sandwich-fragments 
and orange-peel, were piled up in a heap in a corner of the- 
outside yard ; stalls covered with Utrecht red velvet were 
being screwed down in their place; Leather Lane had emptied 
itself of mirrors, which paper-capped men were fixing all 
along the passages ; one set of bricklayers were tearing to 
pieces the old dwelling-house, another was building the 
portico ; pendent from the roof, and straddling across planks 
supported by flimsy ropes, sat deep-voiced Germans, de- 
corating the ceiling in alternate layers of blue and gold, 
and issuing guttural mandates to assistants hidden in the 
dome ; carpenters were enlarging the private boxes; scene- 
painters were looking over the old scenes ; and, in the 
midst of all the confusion, stood Mr. Frank Likely himself, 
dressed in a dark-blue frock-coat, with a camellia of price in 
the button-hole, lavender trousers, amber-coloured gloves, 
and smoking a choice cigar as he superintended the prepa- 
rations. Under the Likely management, the Cracksideum 
was something like a theatre; none of your low melodramas or 
funny farces, but choice little vaudevilles, torn up like drakes 
with shrieking roots from the Boulevards, and transplanted all 
a-blowing to the Strand ; comediettas of the utmost gentility, 
and burlesques teeming with wit and fancy, and giving 
opportunities for the display of the series of magnificent legs 
belonging to a picked corps de ballet, and to such brilliancy 
of scenery as only the great genius of the accomplished 
Scumble could invent and execute. Filling the house were 
the great names in which the fashionable world rejoices — 


princes of the blood, blue ribbons, and gold cordons, heavies 
of the household troops, wicked wits, old gentlemen living 
with and on young gentlemen, a few lovely ladies with very 
brilliant eyes and pearly complexions — but the audience prin- 
cipally of the male sex, and generally to be described as loose. 
Behind the curtain, and filling the elegantly-appointed green- 
room, the literary staff of the theatre ; Horsely Collaridge, 
the young burlesque writer, ragged, hoarse, dirty, and defiant; 
Smirke, the veteran dramatist, serene, calm, and polished 
from the top of his bald head to the sole of his evening boots; 
Lovibond and Spatter, critics who dined on an average 
three times a week with Likely, and spent the remainder of 
the evening receiving theatrical homage ; little Dr. Larynx, 
medico in ordinary to the profession, and a sprinkling of the 
aristocracy, who had panted for his distinction ever since 
they left Eton, but who, having achieved it, found them- 
selves not quite so happy as they had anticipated. Grand 
days, glorious days, but not calculated to last ; the entertain- 
ment was soon found to be of too light and airy a descrip- 
tion for the old audiences of the Cracksideum, and the new 
audiences ran into debt at the librarian's for their stalls and 
boxes, and very little ready money found its way into the 
pockets of the management. Nevertheless, Mrs. Frank 
Likely still kept up her gorgeous bouquets, still put on two 
new pairs of lavender gloves per diem, and still kept up her 
Sunday-evening parties at that cottage on Wimbledon 
Common, which was the envy of the civilised world ; like- 
wise, Mr. Frank Likely still betted highly, smoked the best 
Havannahs, dressed in the best taste, and drove in his 
curricle the highest-stepping pair of grays in London. But 
Black Care soon took up her position in the back seat of 
the curricle behind the high-stepping grays ; gentlemen of 
Hebraic countenance were frequent in their inquiries for 
Mr. Likely; little Mr. Leopop, of Thavies Inn, had a 
perpetual retainer for the defence ; the manager darted from 



his brougham to the stage-door through a double line of 
stalwart carpenters, who sedulously elbowed and kept back 
any evil-looking personages ; and finally Mr. Likely, after 
playing a highly-eccentric comic character, with a bailiff 
waiting at each wing, and one posted underneath the stage 
to guard against any escape by means of trap-door, was 
carried from his dressing-room to a cart in the hollow of the 
big drum ; and the advertisement just quoted appeared in 
the favourite journal, announcing the Cracksideum as again 
To Let. 

" Wanted, for an entertainment, a professional gentleman, 
of versatile powers, age not over thirty. Characters to be 
sustained : a Young and an Elderly Gentleman, a Modern 
Fop, a Frenchman, and a Drunken Character in Low Life." 
Can I not check-off on my fingers twenty gentlemen who 
could undertake this responsibility ? Young Gentleman : blue 
coat, wrinkled white trousers, stuffed and grimy at the knees, 
Gibus hat, and brown Berlin gloves ; carries an ebony cane 
with a silver top, and smacks therewith his leg appro- 
vingly ; talks of his club and his tiger ; of Julia and 
his adoration for her, sings a ballad to her beauty, and 
regards her father as an "Old Hunks." Elderly Gentle- 
man — " Old Hunks," aforesaid : hat with a curled brim, 
iron-gray wig, with the line where it joins the forehead 
painfully apparent, large shirt-frill, Marsala waistcoat, blue 
coat with brass buttons, nankeen pantaloons fitting tight to 
the ankle, ribbed stockings with buckle, thick stick with 
crutch-handle ; very rich, very gouty, loves his stomach, 
hates young gentlemen, speaks of everybody as a "jacka- 
napes," is unpleasantly amorous towards lady's-maid, whom 
he pokes in ribs with stick, and carries all his wealth (which 
is invariably in notes, to " double the amount " of any 
named sum) in a fat pocket-book, which he bestows as a 
reward to virtue at the finale. Modern Fop : brown coat 
with basket buttons, enormous peg-top trousers, whiskers 


and moustache, eyeglass— which is his stronghold in life — 
says nothing but " ah ! " and " paw-sitive-ly damme ! " 
except words abounding in the letter " r," which he pro- 
nounces as " w." Of the Drunken Character in Low Life 
it is unnecessary to speak : a depressed eyelid, a hiccuping 
voice, and staggering legs, and there is the " drunken 
character " complete. The professional gentleman of versa- 
tile powers, who places himself in communication with the 
proprietor of the entertainment, will, probably find himself 
expected to purchase the manuscript, dresses, and properties 
appertaining thereto, and to start entirely on his own 
account. He is not unlikely to agree to this. He has 
been for some time out of employment, and when last 
engaged at Stow-in-the-Wold he had to play Horatio, when 
everyone knows that Laertes is his right line of business. 
He thinks it a good opportunity, too, to let the managers 
see what stuff he has got in him. And then he has a wife, 
a pale-faced consumptive woman who can play the piano 
and accompany his songs ; and so, finally, he invests the 
remnant of his savings, or borrows money from his wife's 
family, who are in the serious bookbinding interest, and 
who look upon him with horror, not unmixed with fear, and 
commences his tour. Oh ! on what dreary journeys does 
the " Portfolio," or the " Odds and Ends," or whatever the 
poor little show is called, then go ! To what museums and 
literary institutes, where the green damp is pealing off the 
stucco, where the green baize-covering is fraying off the 
seats in the " lecture-hall," where there are traces of the 
chemical professor who held forth on Acids and Alkalis last 
week, in pungent-smelling phials and the top of a spirit- 
lamp ; and where the pencil memorandum on the white- 
washed wall of the ante-chamber, " coffee, baby, spurs, 
watch, umbrella, rabbits," with a mark against each item, 
is evidently attributable to the conjurer who gave such 
satisfaction the week before last, and was so particular as to 

f 2 


his properties ! In dull gaunt " assembly-rooms " of country 
old-fashioned inns, where the unaccustomed gas winks and 
whistles in the heavy chandelier, and where the proscenium 
is formed by an antiquated leather screen, which has been 
dragged from the coffee-room, where for countless years it 
has veiled the cruet-mixings of the waiter from vulgar eyes ; 
where the clergyman who sits in the front row feels uncom- 
fortable about the " modern fop," as tacitly reflecting upon 
the eldest son of the lord of the manor; and where the 
landlord and the tapster, who keep the door a few inches 
ajar, and are perpetually running to look, when there is no 
one in the bar, declare the " drunken character in low life " 
to be out-and-out, and no mistake. Poor little show, whose 
yellow announce-bills are handed-in with such cringing 
courtesy at the shops of the principal tradesmen, and are 
seen fluttering in damp strips, weeks afterwards, on all 
posts and available palings. Poor little show ! 

The Music-Hails are only of recent introduction among 
the amusements of London, but their advertisements occupy 
at least one-half of the front page of the journal. Here they 
are : the Belshazzar Saloon and Music-Hail, Hollin's Mag- 
nificent New Music-Hail, the Lord Somerset Music-Hall, 
and half a score of others : to say nothing of the old- 
established house, Llewellyn's, where there are suppers for 
gentlemen after the theatres. Magnificent places are these 
halls, radiant and gay as those in which the lady dreamt 
she dwelt, miracles of gilding and plate-glass and fresco- 
painting, doing a roaring trade — which they deserve, for the 
entertainment given in them is generally good, and always 
free from offence. These are the homes of the renowned 
tenors, the funny Irishmen, the real Irish boys, the Tipperary 
lads (genuine), the delineators of Scotch character, the 
illustrators of Robert Burns, the Sisters Johnson the world- 
celebrated duologue duettists, the sentimental vocalists, the 
talented soprani, the triumphant Bodger family (three in 


number), and the serio-comic wonder, " who is at liberty to 
engage for one turn." It is curious to observe how com- 
pletely monopoly has been overset at these places ; no 
sooner does a gentleman achieve success at one place than 
he is instantly engaged at all the others, rushing from one 
to the other as fast as his brougham can take him, singing 
the same song in different parts of the metropolis seven or 
eight times during the evening, and making a flourishing 

Change of manners has done away with the theatrical 
tavern which flourished twenty years ago, with its portraits 
of theatrical notabilities round its walls, and its theatrical 
notabilities themselves sitting in its boxes ; where leading 
tragedians and comedians of intense comic power would sit 
together discussing past and present theatrical times, while 
theatrical patrons of the humbler order looked on in silent 
delight, and theatrical critics were penning their lucubrations 
in neighbouring boxes. Famous wits and men of learning 
clustered round the dark-stained tables of the Rougepot in 
Playhouse Court, and half the anecdotes and good sayings 
which have saved an otherwise dull book, and made many 
a dull man's reputation, first saw gaslight beneath its winking 
cressets. But we have changed all that. The famous 
wits are dead, and the men of the new generation know not 
the Rougepot ; the theatrical critics go away to their news- 
paper-office to write, the actors' broughams are in waiting 
after the performance to bear away their owners to suburban 
villas, and the old tavern is shut up. Still, however, exists 
the theatrical coffee-house, with its fly-blown play-bills 
hanging over the wire blind; its greasy coffee- stained 
lithograph of Signor Polasco, the celebrated clown, with 
his performing dogs ; and its blue-stencilled announcement 
of Mr. Trapman's Dramatic Agency Office upstairs. Still 
do Mr. Trapman's clients hang about his doors ; old men 
in seedy camlet cloaks, with red noses and bleared eyes ; 


dark sunken-eyed young men, with cheeks so blue from 
constant close-shaving, that they look as though they were 
stained with woad ; down Mr. Trapman's stairs, on autumn 
evenings, troop portly matrons who have passed almost 
their entire life upon the stage, and who, at five years of 
age made their first appearance as flying fairies ; sharp, 
wizen-faced little old ladies, who can still " make-up 
young/' and are on the look-out for singing-chambermaids' 
situations ; heavy tragedians with books full of testimonials 
extracted from the pungent criticism of provincial journals ; 
low-comedy men, whose own laughter, to judge from their 
appearance, must, for some period, have been of that des- 
cription known as " on the wrong side of the mouth." 
There )-ou may see them all day long, lounging in Rouge 
Street, leaning against posts, amicably fencing with their 
ashen-sticks, gazing at the play-bills of the metropolitan 
theatres, and wondering when their names will appear there. 
One more advertisement, and I have finished. " To 
Barristers, Clergymen, and Public Speakers. — Mr. Cicero 
Lumph, Professor of Elocution, Principal Orator at the 
various universities, and for upwards of thirty years con- 
nected with the principal London theatres, begs to represent 
that he is prepared to give instruction in public speaking by 
a method at once easy and efficacious, and that he can point 
with pride to some of the first orators of the day as his 
pupils. N.B. — Stammering effectually cured." Many years 
ago, Cicero Lumph was a dashing captain of dragoons, with 
a handsome face, a fine figure, and splendid expectations 
from an old aunt who adored him. His craze was theatrical 
society, and he was at home in every greenroom, called all 
actors and actresses by their Christian names, and spent his 
money liberally upon them. The old aunt did not object 
to this; she rather liked it, and used to revel in her 
nephew's stories of those " humorous people, the per- 
formers." But when the captain so far forgot what was due 


to himself and his station as to enter into an alliance with one 

of these humorists (he married Bessie Fowke, a meek little 

ccrxph'ee of the Hatton Garden ballet), the old lady's rage 

was terrific ; and she only had time to alter her will and to 

leave all her property to a Charitable Society, before her 

rage brought on a fit of apoplexy and she expired. Poor 

Lumph, finding all supplies thus summarily cut off, was 

compelled to resign his commission, and of course took to 

the stage ; but the stage did not take to him, and he failed ; 

then he became secretary to Mr. Tatterer, the great tragedian, 

wrote all his letters, made all his engagements, and (some 

said) prepared all the newspaper criticisms which appeared 

on that eminent man. When Tatterer came up to London and 

took the Pantechnicon Theatre — where the early Athenian 

drama was revived at such an enormous expense, and with 

so much success — Lumph became his treasurer and continued 

his toady ; and when Tatterer died in the heyday of his 

triumph, Lumph found that he had netted a considerable 

sum of money, and that he could pass the remainder of his 

life without any very hard exertion ; so he became an 

instructor in elocution. He is an old man now, with a 

small wig perched on the top of his head, bushy eyebrows 

overhanging little gray eyes, and a large cavernous mouth, 

with three or four teeth sticking upright and apart in the 

gums, like rocks. His body is bloated and his legs are 

shrivelled ; but he has still the grand old Tatterer stride, 

the Tatterer intonation of the voice, the Tatterer elevation 

of the brow, the Tatterer swing of the arm — all imitated 

from his great master. He lives in a handsome old-fashioned 

house in Hotspur Street, Douglas Square, and his knocker 

all day long is besieged with candidates for instruction. 

Thither come blushing young curates, who have stammered 

along well enough in the country parishes to which they were 

originally licensed, but who, having obtained preferment, 

think they must be polished up for the London or watering- 


place congregation which they are to have in care ; thither 
come stout members of Parliament, big with intentions of 
catching the speaker's eye, but doubtful of their powers of 
elocution when they have ensnared that visual organ ; thither 
come amateur Othellos, Falstaffs, and Sir Peter Teazles, who 
are about to delight their friends with private theatricals ; 
and the door is often blockaded by stout vestrymen or 
obnoxious churchwardens, anxious to show bravely in a 
forthcoming tournay in some parochial parliament. There, 
in a large drawing-room do they mount an oaken rostrum, 
and thunder forth the orations of Sheridan and Burke and 
Curran ; there does the sofa-bolster become the dead body 
of Csesar, and over it do they inform Lumph, who is sitting 
by and critically listening, that they are no orator as Brutus is. 
I could go on for pages upon pages about my favourite 
journal and those whose interests it supports ; but no more 
shall be said than this : Deal gently with these poor players. 
That they are the " chronicles and abstract of the time '■"' 
now, whatever they were in Shakespeare's day, I cannot 
pretend; for perhaps among no other set of human creatures 
will so pure and thorough a system of conventionality, handed 
down from generation to generation, be found to exist ; but 
they are almost universally honest, kindly, hard-working, 
self-supporting, and uncomplaining. And in no other class 
will you find more zeal, gentle-heartedness, and genuine 
philanthropy than among those whose life is passed in 
Holding up the Mirror. 



What Englishman, possessing any share of the national 
vanity, or any proper self-respect, would declare his ignorance 
respecting the manners and customs of the hunting-field, and 
the inner life of that grandest of British field-sports, fox- 
hunting ? We all knew Tom Moody, the whipper-in, well, 
of course ! We know about bright Chanticleer proclaiming 
the morn, and old Towler joining the cry, and the southerly 
wind and the cloudy sky, and the 

Hey, ho, chivy ! 
Hark forward ! hark forward ! tanti-vy ! 

with very quick enunciation and very high upper note, and 
all the rest of it. We know Fores's hunting-sketches, and 
those admirable woodcuts of Mr. John Leech's, where the 
" swells " are always flying their fences, and the " snobs " 
are always coming to grief ; where the pretty girls, whom no 
one else has ever so charmingly portrayed, are rushing at 
bulfmches; while those glorious boys, whom no one else has 
ever attempted, are running their Shetlands at raspers. There 
is a popular style of literature now, the hero of which is 
always an athletic horsey man ; and, notwithstanding his 
weight, making it a point to be up with the first flight 
throughout the run, generally winning the heiress and the. 
Great Poldoody Steeple-chase at one and the same time ; 


or reproaching the young lady, who has jilted him for a 
richer suitor, by taking some terrific and horribly-dangerous 
leap in the very teeth of the pony she has driven in a low 
wicker-carriage to the meet. Thanks in some measure to 
the convenience of railways, there are probably but few of 
us with a sporting turn who have not been out with the 
Queen's stag-hounds, the Surrey fox-hounds ; or who have 
not, while staying at Brighton, enjoyed a day's sport under 
the generalship of that glorious specimen of the English 
yeoman who hunts the Brookside harriers. But notwith- 
standing all these experiences, I have an idea that very few 
persons, even those who take great interest in such matters, 
have any notion of the enormous expense and trouble con- 
sequent on the management of a pack of hounds ; and it is 
for the benefit of those who are thus ignorant, and who may 
be glad of having the whole information in a handy shape, 
and in a small compass, without the trouble of reference to 
encyclopaedias or heavy statistical works, that these obser- 
vations, derived first-hand from two of the first masters of 
hounds in England, and carefully compared with standard 
authorities, are written. 

And first, of the hounds. The number of couple in a 
pack of fox-hounds depends on how many days in a week 
the pack is hunted. If twice a week (or with an occasional 
extra day, called a "bye-day"), twenty-five couple will be 
sufficient ; for three days a week, thirty-five couple ; and for 
four days a week, forty-five couple will be required. The 
prices of hounds vary according to demand and supply. 
Draft-hounds, i.e. such as have been selected for steadiness 
and scenting powers, generally average three guineas a 
couple ; but the safest plan for an intending master of 
hounds is to consult the advertising-columns of sporting 
journals, and see whether any well-known and established 
packs are for sale. At the present time of writing* there is 

* 1864. 


but one pack in the market, and for them is asked thirteen 
guineas a couple. Three or four hundred guineas is a 
common price, and one is not likely to get anything very 
special for the money ; but a good pack has now and then 
gone cheap, and been picked up for five hundred pounds. 
No man with any sporting nous would refuse to give a 
thousand guineas for a pack of hounds with a thoroughly- 
established reputation. Much larger prices are on record. 
From Mr. Blaine we learn that in 1826 Mr. Warde, a well- 
known sportsman, sold his pack for two thousand guineas ; 
while in more recent times Mr. Foljambe's hounds, sold by 
auction in lots at Tattersall's, realised three thousand six 
hundred pounds — one lot of five couple fetching three 
hundred and eighty guineas, and another of four couple 
and a half, four hundred and eighty guineas. Here is your 
preliminary expense. 

Having provided your pack, you will, of course, have 
prepared your kennel for them, which will not be a small 
item in your outlay. As you can expend fifteen shillings or 
five hundred pounds on a dressing-case, according to the 
style of article you require, so will the cost of the erection 
of your kennel depend entirely on your taste and the con- 
tents of your purse. The Duke of Richmond's kennel cost 
ten thousand pounds. The Duke of Bedford's is four 
hundred and fifty feet in length. You will probably be 
satisfied with something less magnificent than either of 
these ; but there are, nevertheless, certain necessaries which 
it is incumbent on a kennel-builder to provide. Among 
these are a boiling-house for the meat, lodging-rooms for 
the hounds, a grass or gravel court into which to turn 
the dogs while the lodging-rooms are being aired, a plentiful 
supply of good water, and a lodging-room for either your 
huntsman, whipper-in, or kennel-attendant, who must be 
so close to the hounds that, should any quarrelling take 
place, they can hear his voice, or the crack of his whip, or 


the sound of a bell, which he could pull, and which should 
hang over where the dogs sleep. Hounds are very savage 
in kennel ; and after a fight in which a dog has been killed, 
his body is sometimes devoured by the rest. Old sportsmen 
have an anecdote, too, of a whipper-in being torn to pieces 
on going into the kennel at night in his shirt, in which dress 
the hounds did not recognise him, and without first calling 
to them. The best food for hounds is oatmeal and horse- 
flesh, boiled \ vegetables, after hunting, boiled with the 
meat, greaves, mashed-potatoes, and skim-milk. Biscuits 
and greaves, also boiled, form excellent food in the summer 
or off-season. All food should be given cold, and it should 
be boiled into pudding one day, and given the next day. 
The cost of feeding hounds depends on the price of oat- 
meal ; but about twelve pounds per annum per couple may 
be looked upon as an average, perhaps a low-average sum. 
Hounds are called by name, and, as it is termed, " drawn," 
to be fed in three, four, or five couples at a time. The door 
is wide open, and the meat-trough is in view of the hungry 
pack ; but, until called out, not one attempts to stir. Says 
Mr. Prior : 

Abra was ready ere he named her name ; 
And when he called another, Abra came. 

It is very lucky that Abra was a lady and not a hound. 
A hound thrusting in or coming out of his turn, not when 
his name is called, is sent back with a flea in his ear. This 
is to make them know their own names, and is the only way 
of teaching them. The late Mr. Appeiiey (the celebrated 
" Nimrod ") gives a remarkable instance of the discipline 
at feeding-time, which occurred at Sir Bellingham Graham's- 
" Vulcan, the crowning ornament of the pack, was standing 
near the door waiting for his name to be called. I happened 
to mention it, though in rather an undertone ; then in he 
came and licked Sir Bellingham's hand ; but though his 


head was close to the trough, and the grateful viands 
smoking under his nose, he never attempted to eat ; but on 
his master saying to him : ' Go back, Vulcan ; you have 
no business here,' he immediately retreated, and mixed with 
the hungry crowd." Hounds should be fed once a day, 
with delicate exceptions ; that is to say, a hound with a 
delicate constitution will require a few minutes longer at the 
trough, and may require to be fed twice in the course of the 
day. Before quitting this branch of the subject, let us give 
two important cautions. Build your kennel in a dry spot, 
thoroughly well drained, and so avoid rheumatism, kennel- 
lameness, and nine-tenths of the ills to which dogflesh is 
heir ; and feed your hounds late at night, and so insure a 
comfortable rest for them, their keepers, and you and your 
guests, if the kennel be at all near the house. 

And now of the staff and the stud. Foremost and most 
important among the former is the huntsman, who should 
be in the prime of life, combining vigour and experience. 
Too young a man is apt to be fussy, self-opinionated, and 
wanting in judgment ; too old a man to be slow and 
incapable of sufficient bodily exertion. Your huntsman 
should think of hunting, and nothing else ; should be 
submissive to no cap-ribbon ; no slave to drink, which 
would be fatal ; no gadabout, taproom loiterer, pothouse 
frequenter. During the season his exercise will prevent any 
thing he takes doing him any harm ; during the off-season 
he will find plenty to do in drilling his pack, and acquainting 
himself with their various peculiarities. He must ride well 
always, sometimes desperately; and he must be firm, yet 
courteous, with those terrific strangers who crop-up 
occasionally at all meets, and who will over-ride the hounds. 
Your cockney sportsman, and your over-excitable enthusiast, 
who — the one from ignorance, the other from irrepressible 
impulse — ride close upon hounds, are the good huntsman's 
direst foes. Hounds may be driven miles before the scent 


by the pursuance of such a practice ; and it is not to be 
wondered at if the huntsman sometimes loses his temper. 
He is a servant, however, and must moderate his language ; 
but he may safely leave the unhappy transgressor to the 
remarks of his master, which are generally very full-flavoured. 
Sometimes the victim declines to bear such language. 

The breeding, rearing, and training of the young hounds 
is entirely to be done by the huntsman ; and in the field he 
is master of the situation, and directs every step in progress 
by his voice or his horn, in the blowing of which he must 
be really scientific. There will be one or two whippers-in, 
according to the size or status of the pack. If there- be two, 
the first is but little inferior to the huntsman, and should be 
qualified to take his place in his absence. One of the whips 
should always remain with the pack, to prevent the younger 
dogs from running riot, and giving tongue heedlessly. The 
pad-groom is also an essential adjunct to a hunting-establish- 
ment, for it is his duty to follow to cover with the second 
horse ; and he requires either a thorough knowledge of the 
country, or an innate appreciation of topography, to enable 
him to keep the hounds within view, to be able to skirt and 
cut across the country, and, withal, to meet his master at the 
proper place with a fresh and unblown animal. Of course the 
keep of such a staff is costly. The wages of huntsmen average 
from eighty to one hundred pounds a year, with a cottage and 
certain perquisites ; but there is a noble duke, an enthu- 
siast in the sport, who gives his huntsman two hundred 
pounds per annum. This, however, is, of course, an utterly 
exceptional wage. 

The first whip will cost five-and-twenty shillings a week, 
the second a guinea, the pad-groom a guinea, and the 
kennel-feeder, if there be one, another guinea a week. 

The wages of neither huntsmen nor whips are high when 
it is remembered what brutes they ride, and they are never 
expected to crane at anything, but to fly ox-fence, brook, 


anything that may come in their way. Nimrod relates 
several anecdotes which he heard from whips of their falls : 
one complained that his horse was "a dunghill brute," 
because, "not content with tumbling, he lies on me for half- 
an-hour when he's down ; " another, having had his horse 
fall on him, and roll him "as a cook would a pie-crust," got 
up, and limping off, said, "Well now I be hurt." Another 
acknowledged to having broken three ribs on one side and 
two on the other, both collar-bones, one thigh, and having 
had his scalp almost torn off him by a kick from a horse. 
Nor, if we may credit the same excellent authority, is there 
much thought given to these unfortunates. "Who is that 
under his horse in the brook?" "Only Dick Christian" (a 
celebrated rough-rider), answers Lord Forester; "and it's 
nothing new to him ! " " But he'll be drowned ! " exclaims 
Lord Kinnaird. " I shouldn't wonder," observes Mr. 
William Coke ; " but the pace is too good to inquire." 

In addition to huntsmen's whips, you will require two or 
three helpers in your stable, at wages of from twelve shillings 
to fifteen shillings a week, and an earth-stopper, who will get 
half a guinea a week. In this estimate I have said nothing 
of the saddler's nor of the farrier's bills, most important items. 

And now you have to provide horses for your staff and 
for yourself — dependent, of course, on the number of your 
servants and the number of dogs you hunt. A huntsman 
and two whips will require two horses each for two days a 
week, or eight horses for the three for three days ; the pad- 
groom will require a horse, and there should be a couple of 
hacks for messages. The master may do with three, or may 
be able to afford more — I should say he will require four, 
barring accidents. The precise cost of hunters is entirely a 
matter of weight and fancy. A ten-stone master of hounds, 
with an eye for a horse, good judgment, and talent in 
bargaining, can, in the country, mount himself more than 
decently for fifty guineas ; whereas in town the price would 


be doubled. With increase in weight the price runs up 
frightfully, and an eighteen-stone man would give five 
hundred guineas for a horse, and think himself lucky, if the 
mount suited him in every respect. No amount of weight 
prevents a man from following, or even keeping hounds, if 
the passion be on him, and he can afford a proper mount ; 
there are masters of hounds of seven- and-a-half stone weight, 
and there are one or two ranging between eighteen and 
twenty stone. To get themselves properly carried, men of 
the latter stamp must expend an enormous sum in horse- 
flesh, requiring, as they do, the speed and jumping-power of 
the hunter, combined with the solid strength of the dray- 
horse. The horses for the huntsman and the whips are 
often good screws, or perhaps horses which, unless in 
constant work, are " rushers," or " pullers," or " rusty." 
When these animals are kept in perpetual motion, have a 
good deal of hard work, and can have any sudden freak of 
fancy taken out of them by a judiciously-administered 
" bucketing," they are generally useful mounts for servants. 
A horse with a bad mouth is often a good horse for a whip, 
or when an original delicate mouth is lost ; for very few 
uneducated men have light hands. 

Horses a little worn are often bought for servants, or very 
young horses, if the men are good workmen, are bought and 
handed over to the servants to be made. Forty pounds may 
be taken as an average price for whips' horses, sixty pounds 
for huntsmen's mounts ; but there is a master in England 
who pays a couple of hundred guineas for his huntsmen's 
horses ; but then the huntsman stands six feet two. These 
horses are turned out from the 21st of April, and one man 
can look after and cut grass for six horses ; but the average 
price of their keep throughout the year is twenty-five pounds 
each ; a master of hounds may reckon that the keep of each 
of his own mounts is forty pounds a year. 

In summing-up the question of expense, it will be well to 


bear in mind the axiom of a well-known sportsman of bygone 
days, that "a master of hounds will never have his handout 
of his pocket, and must always have a guinea in it ;" but it 
may be laid down as a principle that the expense generally 
depends upon the prudence, experience, and interest 
possessed by the owner of the pack and the stud. Two men 
have worked different counties in a season, one at the fourth 
of the expense incurred by the other, and the difference in 
sport has been inappreciable. It may, however, be taken as 
a fact, that the expenses of a fox-hound pack for hunting 
twice a week, including cost of hounds, horses, huntsmen, 
and stable-attendants, will be about fifteen hundred ; and. 
for three times a week, two thousand pounds. 

Besides the packs of hounds kept by private gentlemen, 
there are many subscription packs. About a thousand a 
year is the average amount of a subscription pack's income, 
though some have larger revenue. Men of very large means, 
will subscribe eighty or a hundred to the pack ; but twenty- 
five pounds a year is regarded as a very decent subscription 
from a man whose income is moderate. The system of 
" capping," i.e. the huntsman's touting round with his cap, 
has fallen into disuse, and would be winked at but by very 
few masters ; certainly no huntsman would be permitted to 
"cap" a stranger joining the meet, save in such a place as 
Brighton, where the hunt is attended by very many strangers, 
and where a "half-crown cap" is the regular thing. 

Such are some few particulars of the cost of the noblest 
of British field-sports ; a pastime which lasts from youth to 
age, and, if we may believe the oft-quoted anecdote, becomes 
"the ruling passion strong in death;" for it is related that, 
on its being broken to two sporting-men who were out at sea 
that the vessel must infallibly sink and they perish, one was 
silent, while the other, looking at his friend regretfully, only 
said: "Ah, Bob! no more Uckerby Whin!" naming a 
celebrated covert where they were always sure of a find. 




There seems to be something in the mere fact of a man's 
making a speech which prevents his telling the truth. That 
language was given us to conceal our thoughts, we know 
from the subtle wisdom and biting wit of Talleyrand ; but 
it does appear passing strange that while a man is erect on 
his two feet, his left hand fingering his watch-chain, while 
his right is tattooing on the table-cloth, he should give 
utterance to a series of preposterous untruths. Take my 
own case, for instance. Why did I, last night, at the annual 
summer dinner of the Most Worshipful Company of Leather- 
Breeches Makers, held at the Ship Tavern, Greenwich — 
why did I, in returning thanks for the toast of " The 
Visitors," declare that that was the happiest moment of my 
life ? Seated next morning in the calm seclusion of my 
villa at Dulwich, and recalling the exact circumstances 
under which that assertion was made, I find that rarely has 
it been my lot to be more excessively wretched and uncom- 
fortable. I had " come down " on board an overcrowded 
steamer, under the garish eye of a very hot sun ; I had 
occupied three inches of the wooden arm of a wooden seat, 
with a very scarlet soldier on my right, and a child labouring 
under that painful and easily-caught disease, " the mumps," 
on my left. Revelling in the anticipation of the coming 


banquet, I had been affronted by the constantly-renewed 
offer on the part of a boy of " refreshment," consisting of 
two mouldy captain's biscuits and three soft shiny cigars. I 
had been compelled to use severe language to an old person 
who would persist in offering me " Dawg Toby's Gall'ry o' 
Fun," a halfpenny broadsheet of villanous woodcuts, which 
spoke little for Dog Toby's sense of humour or sense of 
decency. Further, during dinner I had eaten more fish 
than I ought ; to say nothing of the enormity of duckling 
and peas, Nesselrode pudding, and fondu. I had taken 
wine with each of the worshipful Leather-Breeches Makers 
once, with Mr. Master twice, and with myself a good many 
times. I had drained a very deep goblet of claret to the 
Leather-Breeches Makers' Company, " root and branch, 
may it flourish for ever ! " (what does that mean ?) And 
when I rose to my feet to respond to the mention of my 
name, I was pale in the face, parched in the mouth, shaky 
in the legs, weak in the memory, quavery in the voice, and 
frightened out of my senses. That was what I called the 
happiest moment of my life ! I should be sorry to write 
the word with which, in strict justice, I ought to stigmatise 
that expression. I know when the happiest moment of my 
life really comes off. Not when I receive my dividends 
from those very abrupt gentlemen who have, apparently, a 
natural hatred of their customers, across the bank-counter ; not 
when I go to my old wholesale grocery-stores in Lower Thames 
Street, and smell the tea and taste the sugar, and dip my 
hand into the piled-up rice, and learn from my sons of the 
yearly increase of the business in which I still keep my 
sleeping partner's share ; not when that fair-haired knicker- 
bockered boy who calls me "grandad," makes cock-horses 
of my knees, and rides innumerable steeple-chases, clutching 
at my watch-guard for a bridle ; nor when his sister, a fairy 
elf, makes a book-muslin glory on my lap, and kisses me as 
her "dear dada" — those are triumphs, if you like, but there 

G 2 


is something too exciting in them ; they are not the happiest 
moments of my life. 

That blissful period is to me, so far as I can judge, 
about ten a.m. I have had my comfortable breakfast ; my 
wife has gone down to see to the domestic arrangements 
for the day ; if it be summer, I stroll on to the corner of my 
garden ; if it be winter, I shut myself into my little snug- 
gery ; but, summer or winter, I find laid ready for me a box 
of matches, my old meerschaum-bowl, ready filled, and — • 
my newspaper. Then follows an hour composed of three 
thousand six hundred of the happiest moments of my life. 
I light my pipe and take up my paper, duly dried and cut, 
without which enjoyment is to me impossible. I have seen 
men on the outside of an omnibus attempt to fold a news- 
paper in a high wind, reading to the bottom of a column, 
and then suddenly becoming enwrapped, swathed, smothered 
in a tossing crackling sheet. Call that reading the news- 
paper ! I like to read a bit, and puff my pipe a bit, and 
ponder a bit; and my ponderings are not about the 
machinations of the Emperor Napoleon, not about the 
probable result of the American war, not about the Con- 
ference, not about the state of the money-market; but about 
that much talked-of march of intellect, that progress of 
progress, that extension of civilisation, which have shown 
their product in my newspaper lying before me. 

Newspapers were first invented by a French physician, 
who found it his interest to amuse his patients by telling 
them the news. The avidity with which his daily gossip 
was received engendered the hope that, if collected and 
printed, it might do more than reconcile his patients to the 
ever-unwelcome visits of their doctor. Monsieur le Docteur 
Renaudot, for thus was he styled, applied therefore to 
Cardinal Richelieu for a patent, and the first number of 
The Paris Gazette appeared in 1662. 

In the interests of my newspaper, men who have taken 


high collegiate honours have last night wasted the midnight 
oil, and before me lies the result of their deep thought, 
masterly scholarship, and special study of the subject 
intrusted to them ; not one single word was dropped by the 
great orators in last night's debate, finishing at two a.m., 
which I do not find recorded for my perusal ; while the 
A'apid prosings of the dreary members have such pith as 
was in them extracted into a few lines. For my gratification, 
and that of a hundred thousand other readers, a gentleman, 
thoroughly competent for his task, has recorded his opinion 
of the merits of the new tenor who last night made his first 
•appearance at our Opera ; while glancing a little lower 
down, one may experience quite a glow of satisfaction in 
reading the noble names of the superb ones who were 
present at the Princess's reception. In the next column I 
can see exactly how stands the latest betting on the coming 
races, and I also find it chronicled — in a manner which I 
confess I never could comprehend — how yesterday's races 
were run, how Coeur-de-Lion had it all his own way to 
Xobb's Point, closely followed by Butcher-Boy, Gipsy, 
Avoca, and Tatterdemalion ; how, at the distance, Butcher- 
Boy and Avoca ran out and collared the favourite ; and 
how, just before the finish, Smith called upon the mare, and, 
Avoca answering, was hailed the winner by a head. How 
on earth do they know all this ? I believe these racing- 
reports are exact descriptions of the struggle ; but how do 
the reporters manage to see all this in a lightning flight for 
a mile and a half, or how do they manage to distinguish the 
colours of the horses? Sometimes I have fancied there are 
some things in a newspaper which I could do myself; but 
assuredly this is not one of them. I find, too, that my 
journal must have several sporting-gentlemen attached to it ; 
for in the same column I read an account of a yacht-match 
tit Erith, with critical remarks about the manner in which 
the Flirt was sailed by her noble owner ; and a vivid 


description of a cricket-match at Lord's between the elevens 
of Rutland and Yorkshire, with a laudatory notice of Mr. 
Bales's "five-er" with a leg-swipe. In a corner of this 
column I also find quotations from the cotton-market at 
Manchester ; from the corn-markets at Leeds, Liverpool, 
Scotland, Ipswich ; from Messrs. Sheepshanks' trade-circular 
in regard to the colonial wool-sales ; and from the latest 
prices of hay at Smithfield and Whitechapel, where I find 
" the market is dull, with fair supplies." There also is 
spread out for me shipping-intelligence, informing me what 
vessels have arrived at, or passed by way of, our own ports, 
what vessels have been spoken with in far-distant latitudes ; 
there I get a meteorological report of the actual and pro- 
bable state of the weather all over the United Kingdom ; 
and in the immediate vicinity I find an elaborate report of 
the state of the mining-market, whence I glean that Wheal 
Mary Anne advanced twenty shillings, and that Cotopaxis 
were rather flatter. 

Hundreds of others are in the employment of my 
journal. In its interest a famous writer has taken the 
pilgrim's staff, and wandered through America desolated by 
her civil war, has passed through Mexico, and lingered 
among the islands of the Spanish Main, duly transmitting 
vivid descriptions of his adventures, and of the result of 
his observations. In the same interest, at all the principal 
continental cities — notably at Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Peters- 
burg, and Madrid — my journal has its agents : quiet, 
gentlemanly men ; now gay bachelors going into the fast 
society of the Cercle and the Jockey Club ; now steady 
middle-aged men, regular attendants on the Borsen Halle, 
now quaffing horchata, and puffing cigarettes on the 
Puerta del Sol, now colloguing with P -and-O. captains at 
Alexandria, or chaffing "griffs" at Suez; but always having 
ears and eyes wide open, be it for a political "shave," a 
dancer's triumph, or a rise in the markets, and always 


transmitting that intelligence instanter by letters or telegram 
to my journal. In the same interest two gentlemen are 
attached, one to the head-quarters of the Danish, another 
to the German army ; solemnly precise men are gliding 
about the Exchange, writing in their memorandum-books 
the latest quotations from Capel Court, the latest " done " 
at Gurney's, the latest whisper from the Bank parlour; one 
member of the staff is flying away in one of the compart- 
ments of a royal train, while another is pursuing his inquiries 
among the starving poor of Bethnal Green ; one reporter 
has just buttoned up his note-book containing the charge of 
the judge to the jury trying a murderer, while another is 
taking down the chairman's " speech of the evening " at a 
charity dinner ; the fire " which was still blazing fiercely 
when we went to press," the murder up Islington way, 
which was committed late last evening, the new farce, " on 
which the curtain did not fall till past midnight ; " all are 
recorded in my journal, which also gives utterance to the 
cries of innumerable indignant amateur correspondents. 

From my experience, the outside public which reads 
and delights in its newspaper has very little idea of all this 
enormous trouble and expense in preparing the daily sheet, 
and has not the smallest conception of the powers required 
in the various leading journalistic men. Take the editor 
alone. Talk of the general of an army, of his tact and 
readiness, what is he compared to the editor of a leading 
daily paper? An editor, if he be worth his salt, must 
possess the art of watching public taste, the art of seeing 
what inevitably must be, and the power of writing leaders, 
or getting them written, to say that it shall be. He must 
have the faculty of collecting materials, and finding men to 
deal with them ; the faculty of being able to say something 
at once on any important event which may turn up ; the 
faculty of dining-out well ; and when dining-out, the faculty 
of not talking, save to excite discussion and draw out 


information. Men of ripe middle age make the best 
editors ; too young they are apt to be flippant, excitable, 
and aggressive ; too old they fall into carelessness, laxity, 
conventionality, and twaddle. And your editor must 
necessarily be a thorough citizen of the world, and 
determined to subdue all his own natural tastes and 
inclinations for the success of his journal. He may look 
upon the theatre with eyes of loathing; but he should take 
care that his dramatic criticisms are full, fair, and immediate. 
He may look with horror upon sporting ; but his racing- 
reporter should be up to every move on the turf. He must 
never be sleepy between eight p.m. and three a.m. ; must 
never be ill ; must observe a strict Mokanna-like seclusion, and 
not " make himself free ; " he must take every step in his 
business promptly, but with caution ; and once having com- 
mitted himself to any cause, however great, however slight, 
he must stick to it for ever, and defend it per fas aut nefas 
to the very best of his ability. 

One of the golden rules for success in the conduct of a 
newspaper, and one without the adoption of which it is 
impossible for any journal to succeed, is — spare no expense. 
Have the very best in the market ; and do not mind what 
you pay, so that you get it good. When the Californian 
rage for gold-digging began, The Times employed a gentle- 
man to go out ; and that he might be competent, sent him 
first to a gold-refiner's in the City to learn all the processes 
of refining, had him taken over the Mint, and sent him 
forth thoroughly au courant with all that was known of his 
subject in London. Then the leader-writers should be 
masters of their craft, va sans dire ; and to this end it is 
found necessary to have men of various professions and of 
various tastes, to each of whom can be intrusted a special 
subject. Of late years it has been found that great kv8os, 
and consequent circulation, has been occasionally obtained 
for several of the morning journals by some specially 


admirable descriptive article ; and that style of writing has 
consequently been sought after and more fostered. The 
ordinary reporter is now kept to ordinary reporting ; and 
when an article descriptive of any event of peculiar interest 
is required, a man of higher journalistic rank is appointed 
to write it. Some of the descriptions of Mr. W H. Russell 
and Mr. AVoods in The Times, of Mr. G. A. Sala and 
Mr. Godfrey Turner in The Telegraph, of Mr. Justin 
M'Carthy and Mr. Leicester Buckingham in The Star, of 
Mr. Parkinson and Mr. Murphy in The Daily News, and 
of Mr. Williams in The Standard, are as good as can be, and 
utterly different from anything that would have been looked 
for in the journals twenty years since. 

Although I always wondered in a vague kind of way at 
the manner in which my journal was produced, when I 
knew nothing about it, I think my astonishment has even 
been greater since I saw the working of the vast engine of 
social progress. Arriving at about ten o'clock in the 
evening, I found an intelligent guide awaiting me, and 
by him was first conducted into the library — not necessarily 
a portion of a newspaper establishment, but here interesting 
as the depository of the volumes, from their earliest sheet, of 
The Times and " The Morning Chronicle, once conspicuous in 
journalism, now defunct. I took down a volume of The 
Chronicle haphazard, and opening it at the date, February 
4th, 1792, read a protest of the Irish Parliament on a vote 
of congratulation to the king on the marriage of the Duke 
of York with the Princess of Prussia. The Irish gentlemen 
were " dissentient " because they could not " consistently 
with principle or honour join in thanking a sovereign whom 
it is in the highest degree criminal to deceive, on having 
entered on the government of Ireland as viceroy, a man 
under whose administration measures inimical to the public 
welfare had been supported with success, and every measure 
beneficial to the kingdom uniformly opposed and defeated." 


The viceroy to whom this special compliment was paid 
was Lord Westmoreland. Poor Ireland ! — well up in 
the grievance-market even in those distant days. In the 
same number I found the advertisement of a " Proposal for 
a complete History of England, by David Hume, Esq. j " a 
notice of a gallery of pictures, " by Messrs. Barry, Copley, 
Fuseli, and T. Lawrence;" and an announcement of the 
performance of RicJiard the Third — "The Queen, Mrs. 
Siddons ; being the first time of her performing that 

I proceeded to a suite of rooms occupied by the sub- 
editor and the principal reporters. In the outermost of 
these rooms is arranged the electric-telegraph apparatus — ■ 
three round discs, with finger-stops sticking out from them 
like concertina-keys, and a needle pointing to alphabetic 
letters on the surface of the dial. One of these dials 
corresponds with the House of Commons, another with 
Mr. Reuter's telegraph-office, the third with the private 
residence of the proprietor of my journal, who is thus 
made acquainted with any important news which may 
transpire before he arrives at, or after he leaves, the 
office. The electric telegraph — an enormous boon to all 
newspaper-men — is specially beneficial to the sub-editor. 
By its aid he can place before the expectant leader-writer the 
summary of the great speech in a debate, or the momentous 
telegram which is to furnish the theme for triumphant 
jubilee or virtuous indignation; by its aid he can "make-up" 
the paper — that is, see exactly how much composed matter 
will have to be left " standing over," — for the tinkling of the 
bell announces a message from the head of the reporting- 
staff in the House, to the effect, " House up ; half a col. to 
come." Sometimes, very rarely, wires get crossed or other- 
wise out of gear, and strange messages relating to mis- 
delivered firkins of butter, or marital excuses for not coming 
home to dinner, arrive at the office of my journal. The sub 



editor has a story how, after having twice given the signal to 
a West-End office which Mr. Reuter then had, he received 
a pathetic remonstrance from some evidently recently- 
awakened maiden : " Please not to ring again till I slip on 
my gown !" On the sub-editor's table lie the weapons of his 
order : a gigantic pair of scissors, with which he is rapidly 
extracting the pith from the pile of "flimsy" copy supplied 
by the aid of the manifold-writer and tissue-paper, by those 
inferior reporters known as penny-a-liners ; and a pot of gum, 
with which he fits the disjointed bits together; here also are 
proofs innumerable in long slips ; red, blue, and yellow 
envelopes, with the name of my journal printed on them in 
largeletters — envelopes which have contained the lucubrations 
of the foreign and provincial correspondents ; an inkstand 
large enough to bathe in ; a red-chalk pencil like the bow- 
sprit of a ship ; and two or three villanous-looking pens. 
At another table a gentleman, gorgeous in white waistcoat 
and cut-away coat, is writing an account of a fancy-fair, at 
which he has been present ; printers, messengers, boys, keep 
rushing in asking questions and delivering messages ; but 
they disturb neither of the occupants of the room. The 
fancy-fair gentleman never raises his eyes from his paper, 
while, amid all the cross-questioning to which he is subjected, 
the sub-editor's scissors still snip calmly on. 

Next to the composing-room, where I find about seventy 
men at work " setting " small scraps of copy before them. 
The restless scissors of the head of the room divide the 
liner's description of horrible events at a position of breath- 
less interest, and distribute the glorious peroration of a 
speech among three or four compositors, who bring up their 
various contribution of type to the long "galley" in which 
the article is put together. These men work on an average 
from four p.m. till two a.m., or half-past two (in addition to 
these there are the regular " day-hands," or men employed 
in the daytime, who work from nine till five). They are 


mostly from twenty-five to thirty-five years of age ; though 
there is one old man among them who is approaching 
threescore-and-ten, and who is reported almost as good as 
any of his juniors. They earn from three to four guineas 
a-week each. The room is large, and though innumerable 
gaslights are burning, the ventilation is very good. 

I glanced at some of the writing at which the men were 
working ; and as I thought of the fair round text in which my 
ledgers and day-books were always entered up, and then 
looked at the thin jigging hieroglyphics which, in close lines, 
and adorned with frequent erasures and corrections, lay 
before the eyes of those poor compositors, I shuddered at 
the contrast. On inquiring, however, I found that the 
compositors made very light of cacography, and that it was 
seldom indeed that a man had to refer to his neighbour to 
help him in deciphering a word. 

Although a printer may be sitting all day, yet in his own 
way he is a great traveller, or, at least, his hand is. A good 
printer will set eight thousand ems a-day, or about twenty- 
four thousand letters. The distance travelled over by his 
hand will average about one foot per letter, going to the 
boxes in which they are contained, and of course returning, 
making two feet every letter he sets. This would make 
a distance each day of forty-eight thousand feet, or a little 
more than nine miles ; and in a year, leaving out Sundays, 
that member travels about three thousand miles. 

From the composing-room I, and a certain amount of 
type duly set and locked up in a " forme," proceeded to the 
foundry — a workshop covered with scraps of metal-filings, 
and with a furnace in the middle of it. Unlike their fellow- 
workmen of the village of Auburn, as described by Goldsmith, 
the smiths in the foundry of my journal by no means relaxed 
their ponderous strengths and leaned to hear, but were 
obviously far too hard at work to do anything of the kind. 
So soon as the type-containing formes arrive, they are 


hammered all over with a mallet to reduce them to an average 
level and consistency ; then they are oiled, and an exact 
imprint is taken of them on what is called a " matrix " — a 
preparation of French-chalk on stiff paper. This matrix is 
then dried over a furnace on hot metal plates ; a mixture of 
lead and antimony in a liquid boiling state is poured on it, 
taking the exact form of the indented letters, filling up every 
crack and crevice, and becoming, in many reduplicated 
forms, the actual substance from which the journal is printed, 
and which to that end is sent to the machine-room, whither 
I followed it. 

The machine-room of my journal is a vast whitewashed 

hall, with three enormous clanging, plunging, whirling metal 

demons in the midst of it, attended by priests and devotees, 

half of whom are employed in administering to their idols' 

appetites by feeding them with virgin paper, while the other 

half wrenches from them the offering after it has passed 

through the ordeal. In plainer language, the demons are 

three of Hoe's most powerful printing-machines, containing 

together twenty-six cylinders, and in attendance upon them 

are eighty men and boys, half of whom feed the machines 

with fresh paper, while the other half receive the sheets 

after they have passed under the cylinders. The cylinders 

in these machines make one million four hundred and five 

thousand revolutions in the course of one night, and for a 

single day's circulation travel at the rate of nearly nine 

hundred and eighty-five miles. When its machines are in 

full swing, my journal is produced at the rate of eight 

hundred and eighty-four copies per minute. The length 

of paper used in one day in my journal will make a path 

one yard wide and nearly one hundred and sixteen miles 

long ; one day's circulation placed edge to edge would 

closely cover a piece of land of nearly forty-three acres; one 

week's circulation, placed one on top of the other, would 

make a column three hundred and nineteen feet high. The 


weight of paper used in one day's circulation of my journal 
is seven tons thirteen hundred-weight two quarters and 
twenty pounds ; there are also three hundred and ninety- 
six pounds of ink consumed in one night's printing ; and 
the length of tape used upon the machines is a little over 
four miles. In the midst of all this whirling, dazzling 
confusion, accidents very seldom occur ; the ringing of 
a bell, the movement of a handle, and the rotation of the 
engine ceases instantaneously. To a stranger the vast room, 
with its glare of gas, its smell of oil and steam, and its 
whirring engines, is a kind of orderly Pandemonium. 
There are galleries whence he can survey all that passes ; 
but a few minutes must elapse before his eyes become 
accustomed to the tearing of the engine, and his ears to the 
clanging discord ; though those employed seem thoroughly 
habituated, and pursue their avocations as though they were 
in the quiet composing-room itself. Indeed, the head- 
engineer, who acted as my guide in this department, had 
such interest in his work, that he told me he seldom 
took a holiday or absented himself from his post. He 
evidently regarded those who did not ordinarily spend their 
evenings in the company of his machines as inferior beings. 
So the demons go clanging through the night, until they 
are supposed to have had as much as is good for. them, and 
their fires are raked out, their steam is let off, and machinists 
and feeding-boys go home to bed, whither the compositors 
and the sub-editor have long since preceded them. Then 
the advanced guard of the day establishment, in the persons 
of the publisher and his staff, appear upon the scene. The 
street outside is lined with light spring-carts, with those 
peculiarly bony horses which always seem to come into 
newsvendors' hands ; crowds of men and boys fight up the 
passage to the publishing-office, while inside there is a 
hullabaloo, compared to which the howling at an Irish wake 
is silence, and the parrot-house at the Zoological Gardens is 


a quiet retreat. Right has very little chance against might 
in such a medley as this, and the weakest usually goes to 
the wall ; but eventually the big wooden tables are cleared, 
the last load has been carried to the van, the last boy has 
rushed off with his arms full of damp literature, and the 
starters by the Parliamentary for Liverpool at seven have 
my journal on their knees, while merchant-princes resident 
in Brighton, and coming thence by the " daily-bread " 
express at a quarter to ten, find it on their breakfast-tables 
at half-past eight. 

Taking such things into consideration, is it wonderful 
that I regard my newspaper as a marvel, and that I from 
time to time lay it down to ponder over the capital, talent, 
and energy involved in its production ? 



Gunning is my theme ; not the patronymic of those three 
beautiful sisters who fired the hearts (if the dried-up integu- 
ments can be so called) of the court gentlemen in the time 
of the Regent, but the great art of shooting; on English 
manor or Scottish moor, from the back of a pony or the 
bows of a punt, in solitary ramble or grand battue; indulged 
in by my lord with his party of friends, his keepers, his 
gillies, and his beaters; by Bill Lubbock the poacher, known 
to the keepers as an " inweterate," with his never-missing 
double-barrel and his marvellous lurcher ; or by Master 
Jones, home for the holidays from Rugby, who has invested 
his last tip in a thirty-shilling Birmingham muzzle-loader, 
with which he " pots " sparrows in the Willesden fields. 
Gunning, which binds together men of otherwise entirely 
opposite disposition and tastes ; which gives many a toiler in 
cities pent such healthful excitement and natural pleasure 
as enable him to get through the eleven dreary months, 
hanging on to the anticipation of those thirty happy days 
when the broad stubble-fields will stretch around him, and 
the popping of the barrels make music in his ear. Gunning, 
a sport so fascinating, that to enjoy it men in the prime of 
life, with high-sounding titles and vast riches, will leave 
their comfortable old ancestral homes, and the pleasant 


places in which their lines have been cast, and go away to 
potter for weeks in a miserable little half-roofed shanty on a 
steaming barren Highland moor, or will risk life and limb 
in grim combat with savage animals in deadly jungle or 
dismal swamp. Gunning, whose devotees are numbered by 
myriads, the high-priest whereof is Colonel Peter Hawker, 
of glorious memory, who has left behind him an admirable 
volume of instruction in the art. Not unto me to attempt 
to convey hints, " wrinkles," or " dodges " to the regular 
gunner ; mine be it simply to discourse on the inner life of 
the art, showing what can be done, in what manner, and for 
how much ; and giving certain practical information in 
simple and concise form to the neophyte. 

And first to be mentioned in a treatise, however humble, 
on gunning, are guns. A muzzle-loading double gun, by a 
first-class London maker, costs forty guineas, or with its 
cases and all its fittings, fifty guineas. The leading pro- 
vincial makers, and those of Scotland and Ireland, charge 
from thirty to forty pounds complete ; most of their guns 
are, however, in reality manufactured in Birmingham, where 
the price of a double gun varies from twenty pounds to two 
pounds five shillings, or even less, according to quality. 
The second-class London makers charge from twenty-five to 
thirty-five pounds ; but most of their work is made at 
Birmingham, and only " finished " in London. The London 
work is much the best ; for, as the wages paid are much 
higher, London attracts the best workmen from all parts of 
the country. Another reason is, the greater independence 
of the workmen in London. In Birmingham, especially — 
between trade agreements on the part of the masters, and 
trade-unions on the part of the men — a man who can work 
better or more quickly than his fellows is continually 
hampered ; and he generally makes his way to London, 
where he finds a fairer market for his labour, and fewer 
restrictions. The situation of Birmingham, near to the 



coal-producing districts, renders the cost of fuel much less 
than in London ; and all the operations which require a 
large expenditure of fuel, such as the welding and forging 
of the barrels, etc., are done at Birmingham, even for best 
guns ; and it is frequently asked, since all the materials, 
barrels, etc. come from Birmingham, why pay the much 
higher prices of London makers for the same thing ? 
meaning, that as the London makers get their barrels (the 
chief portion of the gun) from Birmingham, the prices 
they charge are extortionate. Now, what the London 
barrel-maker really does get from Birmingham is simply two 
rough tubes of wrought iron, not fit in their then condition 
even to serve as gas-pipes. All that makes them of any 
value as gun-barrels — the boring, filing, putting together for 
shooting, etc. — has to be done in London at four times 
the cost, and generally with ten times the accuracy, of 
Birmingham work. The fallacy lies in supposing that " the 
same thing " is obtained in both cases. If what a man 
buys when he purchases a gun be merely the six pounds of 
wrought iron and steel in the barrel and locks, and the half 
a foot of walnut plank in the stock, the value of these 
materials at twenty pounds a ton for the metal and a shilling 
a foot for the wood is less than five shillings for the whole, 
and he may well consider he is overcharged if he pay a 
pound for the complete gun. But what he buys is really 
the time and technical skill of the contriver, the time and 
skill of the workman, the waste of manufacture (and how 
enormous this frequently is, may be judged from the fact 
that ninety pounds of rough metal will be consumed in 
making a pair of Damascus gun-barrels weighing about six 
pounds when finished) ; these are the real things purchased, 
and whether the buyer pay ten or fifty pounds, he will 
generally get only the value of his money, and no more. 
Skill and time can never be brought to the same close 
competition as the price of raw material, and the tendency 


of both is to become dearer, instead of cheaper, every 

During the last four or five years the use of breech- 
loading guns has become common in England. The system 
adopted is called the " Lefaucheux," from the name of its 
inventor, and it has been general in France for many years. 
Twenty-five years ago some guns of this pattern were 
brought from Paris by Mr. Wilkinson, of Pall Mall, who 
endeavoured to introduce their use into England, but with- 
out success ; and they were finally sold at one-fourth their 
cost, as curiosities only. The price of breech-loading guns 
of best quality is five guineas more than muzzle-loaders ; 
thev are sold in Birmingham at from eight pounds to thirty 
pounds. The advantages of a breech-loader to young 
sportsmen are, principally, that the guns cannot be over- 
loaded, two charges cannot go into the same barrel ; the 
charge can be taken out in an instant ; and though, if the 
gunner be clumsy, he may shoot a friend, he cannot by any 
possibility shoot himself. This little distinction is highly 
appreciated, since accidents in loading from the muzzle 
were by no means unfrequent. 

To a moderate-minded man, three or four thousand 
acres in England would be a good manor, of which four 
hundred should be covert. Potatoes used to be good 
covert, now the best is clover left for seed, mangold, swedes 
and turnips, beans, etc. The usual price is one shilling per 
acre ; but in the neighbourhood of London and large towns 
the rent is higher, and the value arbitrary. For four 
thousand acres, to do the thing well, one should have a 
head-keeper, whose cost will be as follows : a house, a guinea 
a week for wages, five pounds a year for clothes, twelve 
pounds a year for ammunition, a certificate three pounds, 
and a " deputation " from the lord of the manor, without 
which he cannot, I believe, legally take a gun away from a 
poacher. He generally has a pony and a spring-cart allowed 

h 2 


him, sometimes the keep of a dog. It has been well 
observed, that " it is not every fellow with a short jacket 
and half-a-dozen pockets, that is fitted for a game-keeper.'' 
He must be trustworthy; for he has in the mowing-time to 
pay a shilling a nest to the mowers, sometimes to pay for the 
destruction of vermin, etc., and he can cheat if he like. 
He should be a good, but not a noted or crack shot — not 
such a shot as keeps his hand in by practice on his master's 
game ; and he should be thoroughly knowing in the habits 
of all manner of vermin, and in the mode of destroying 
them. He should not be allowed to break dogs, for anyone 
save his master, or to rear pets, or in fact to do any 
extraneous duty. A game-keeper's situation is a pleasant 
one when he and his master pull together. There is always 
enough to do, both in and out of season, to keep a zealous 
man fully employed. He should be brave, yet not pug- 
nacious ; amicable, and on good terms with the neighbour- 
ing farmers, yet not sufficiently so ever to wink at poaching, 
however mild — and the natural instinct for poaching, even 
amongst farmers of the better class, is something marvellous 
— and civil and attentive to his master's guests. (N.B. — It 
is usual to give a keeper five shillings for the day, if shooting 
at a friend's manor, and then he cleans your gun ; at a grand 
battue, a guinea is frequently given, but for a day's partndge- 
. shooting five shillings is ample. This, be it remembered, is 
-expected.) Your head-keeper will want a man under him, 
with wages of twelve shillings a week, and a house, and at 
•certain seasons watchers or night-men. These are generally 
paid by the night. The beaters employed at battues are 
very frequently old men or boys on the estate, who are fit 
for nothing else ; they get from one shilling to half-a-crown 
for their day's job. 

For such a manor as I have pictured, two brace of 
pointers or setters, and one retriever, would be enough, and 
a good close-working spaniel, or a brace or leash, according 


to fancy. A brace of well-broken second-season setters 
should be purchasable at from twenty-five to thirty pounds ; 
spaniels at five pounds each ; a good retriever would be 
cheap at twenty guineas, ten pounds being a very common 
price. If possible, by all means breed your own dogs, or 
get them bred by your friends ; a purchased pointer is a 
pig in a poke — purchased, I mean, through the medium of 
an advertisement or from a regular dealer. Some animals 
so bought have never even had powder burnt over them, 
cower at the shot, and fly away from home immediately 
afterwards;. others have a kind of "crammed" instruction — 
that is to say, they will be very good when kept in constant 
practice, but if left at home for a few days will forget all 
they have learnt, and come into the field wild and ignorant. 
Pointers are more useful than setters for partridge-shooting, 
easier to train, less liable to take cold, more easily steadied, 
and more tenacious of instruction. On the other hand, 
setters are superior for grouse-shooting, being harder-footed. 
Spaniels are the most useful of all dogs : there are two 
classes — the "mute," which are the best for all practical 
purposes ; and those which fling their tongues, begin their 
noise as soon as they are put into cover, put all game on 
the alert, and send every jack-hare and old cock-pheasant 
out of the other end. A spaniel should stop when he rouses 
a rabbit or hare, should never range more than thirty yards 
from the gun, should drop when the gun goes off, and 
should then lie until signalled on. He should go through 
any furze or brambles like a rat ; should be short on his 
legs, long in his body, have a long head, go to water, and 
retrieve alive ; he should work with his tail down, and the 
set of the tail should be down also. His ears should be 
bell-shaped, small at the top and large at the bottom. The 
best breed is the " Clumber" spaniel, which is always mute, 
always lemon-and-white in colour, but not generally fond of 
the water. The next best breed is the Sussex, liver-and- 


white ; the darker the liver, the better ; the best-marked 
have a white blaze down the face, white muzzle, liver nose, 
lips necked with liver, and necked legs, belly and hips white, 
and white collar and chest. The most fashionable spaniels 
are mute black-and-white, or black-and-tan, legs, feet, and 
toes well feathered before and behind, and the feet round as 
a cheese-plate. As to retrievers : when you hear people 
speak of a genuine retriever, do not place much credit in 
their assertions, as there is no regular breed, and the best 
retrievers are generally mongrels, half-poodle, half-spaniel, 
and sometimes with a cross of Newfoundland. A well- 
taught retriever combines the qualities of pointer, setter, 
spaniel, and water-dog, with his own peculiar instinct of 
fetching a dead bird out of any brake, and carrying him 
with jaws of iron and teeth of wool. I need not say that 
such a dog is invaluable. 

If you go in for pheasant-breeding, you go in for expense 
at once. The artificial food for three hundred pheasants, 
until they shoot their tails, would cost fifteen or twenty 
pounds. By artificial food I mean eggs, rice, greaves, 
chopped onions, lettuce, etc. I should say that every 
pheasant shot on any manor costs twelve shillings, for they 
must be reared by hand. The good friend with whom I 
have had many a pleasant day in the woods, calculates the 
cost of his birds at a pound each ; but he does everything 
in an unnecessarily princely fashion, and has a staff of 
keepers and beaters inferior to none in number or cost. 

Grouse-shooting in England can be pursued in York- 
shire, Northumberland, and Westmoreland, in some parts 
of Wales, in Kerry, Limerick, Wicklow, and Tipperary in 
Ireland, and in the Scotch Highlands. Within the last few 
years grouse-shooting has become such a fashionable amuse- 
ment, that the prices of moors have risen enormously, and 
have at length attained a fabulous height. Twenty years ago, 
the highest price for a moor of from twenty to forty thousand 


acres, fit for four guns, was four hundred pounds ; you 
would be lucky now to get it for double the money. This 
is owing to the manufacturing gentry, who are tremendously 
keen groucers, and have a general leaning towards gunning, 
and can afford to pay magnificently. Here it may be well 
to call attention to the advertisements of moors to be let for 
the season, the owner of which stipulates that the tenant 
shall " be limited to a thousand brace ! " He must not 
shoot more, for fear of thinning the stock on the moor. 
Caveat emptor. The intending answerer of such advertise- 
ment may safely pledge himself to abide by this stipulation, 
and if he and his friends bag three hundred brace, they may 
think themselves highly favoured. Setters and pointers 
(Russian and Spanish preferred by some) are the best dogs 
to shoot grouse to; the time, between the 12th of August 
and the 20th of September, though some talk of October, 
and even the early days of November, but you will get 
better grousing between the dates I have mentioned ; a 
large-bored gun, and, if with a muzzle-loader, No. 3 shot. 
Colonel Hawker says: "Grouse take a harder blow than 

Also in the sporting journals, under the heading "To 
Let," you will find the entry: "Splendid deer-forests." A 
deer-forest is so named on the celebrated lucits a 11011 lucendo 
principle ; it does not contain a single tree, but is simply a 
Highland tract of land from which sheep have been kept 
off — as sheep and deer will never feed together. The most 
celebrated are the deer-forests of Lord Lovat, the Duke of 
Richmond, the Duke of Athol, and, above all, of the 
Marquis of Breadalbane. For a good deer-forest, a thousand 
a year is a low price ; and every deer shot costs, on an 
average, from sixty to eighty pounds. Let no man, un- 
possessed of great bodily strength, with lasting power and 
patience, undertake deer-stalking. To walk for miles to the 
shooting-ground, to crawl on all-fours or on the stomach for 


several hundred yards through brake and brushwood, and 
then to take steady aim at a distance of over a hundred 
yards at about the least, requires men in high training and 
of natural bodily strength. But your amateur, however 
good, is never equal to your gillie, whose eye is more acute 
than the best Dollond or reconnoitrer ; whose arm is as 
steady as a rock, after any amount of exertion ; and who 
goes up any number of the stiffest braes without turning a 
hair, or apparently without an extra pulsation. A knowing 
shot, your gillie, and one who never neglects an opportunity 
They tell a story of a noble lord who, last year, was out on 
his moor with his favourite gillie, when he spied a noble 
stag about four hundred yards off. The nobleman put his 
rifle to his shoulder, covered the object, then lowered his 
piece. '■Donald!" said he. "Me lard!" said Donald. 
" That's a fine shot." " Et wad be a faine shot for the mon 
as wad het it," was the Highlander's sententious reply. 
"Take the rifle, Donald, sight it carefully, and give it me 
back; if I knock over that fellow, the rifle shall be yours." 
The gillie took the rifle and sighted it, and gave it to his 
master, who fired, and killed his stag. According to his 
promise, he gave the rifle to the gillie. Since then he has 
never been taken nearer than four hundred yards to any 
deer on his estate ! 

Never let any ribald " chaff," any denunciation of 
Cockney sport, prevent you from enjoying a good day's 
rabbit-shooting whenever you have the opportunity. With 
a couple of mute spaniels and a sharp terrier, you mav 
have an excellent morning's sport; but you must remember 
that it is very quick shooting, and you must keep your gun 
on the cock, and be ready to pull the instant you see the 
rabbit run, if you would have a chance of hitting him. Be 
wary, for rabbits are wonderfully "up to trap ;" pretend not 
to be looking after them, and you will throw them off their 
guard ; but if you advance in a business-like manner, gun in 


hand, depend upon it that a flash of white tails is all you 
will see of your game — of the older ones, at least ; the 
younger are less knowing, and more easily potted. 

For any hints about wild-fowl shooting, go to Colonel 
Hawker, and consult no other. He is a little rococo and 
old-fashioned ; but in the main he is as right now as he was 
when he wrote, and his advice is sound, practical, and 
sensible. Take it all with that " grain of salt " which the 
old Latin proverb prescribes ; for though there lived strong 
men before Agamemnon, there are not many men strong 
enough to undergo all the hardships which Colonel Peter 
Hawker lightly touches upon in his hints on wild-fowl 

It is unusual to take a dog with you when invited to a 
day's shooting. But in partridge-shooting, when you receive 
the invitation, it is common to ask the question : " How are 
you off for dogs?" and to take them if wanted. To take 
your dogs over without having ascertained the wish of your 
host, will cause you to be regarded as rather a cool hand. 
Perhaps, after all, spaniels are the most serviceable animals; 
setters and pointers are not much used in England, as there 
is little " laying " for birds under the new system of farming, 
and now turnips are drilled, birds rise before the dogs. 

Finally, do not imagine that you can leave the London 
season, the jolly nights in the Club smoke-room, the heavy 
dinners with ingoted East-Indian uncles, the twenty-one 
dances winding-up with a never-ending cotillon, indulged in 
night after night ; and then go down to Norfolk, or where- 
ever may be the manor to which you are invited, and shoot. 
The thing is impossible. You must be, to a certain extent, 
in training ; at all events, your wind must be decent, your 
muscles braced, and your hand and eye steady. A long 
waltz may be good for your wind, but it will shake your 
arm ; and a pipe of Cavendish or a couple of extra cigars 
will spoil your sport for the day. So do not be down- 


hearted at first if you fire wild, or if the squire and his 
country friends grin a bit as the birds fly away unharmed ; 
wait — let your faith be "large in Time," as Mr. Tennyson 
has it ; and very soon you will feel your hand getting in, 
and you will find that, as sweet Will, who has something on 
everything, says : " Your shooting then is well accounted." 



It was not until long after this grand patriotic volunteer 
movement had been started that we began to talk of it at 
Grimgribber, and it was much later before we thought of 
joining it. You see we are rather peculiar at Grimgribber 
■ — not aristocratic, perhaps, but decidedly rich, and on that 
account rather high and stand-off-ish. We live in large 
houses, considerably given to portico ; we carpet our halls, 
and therein do a good deal in the proof-before-letter prints 
and stag's-horn and fox's-foot hat-rail line ; we have very 
large gardens, with graperies and pineries, and everything 
that can cost money ; but we are decidedly not sociable. 
To tell the truth, Grimgribber is, perhaps, a thought over- 
done with Quakerdom, having been selected as the favoured 
spot in which some of the choicest spirits of the Peace 
Society have pitched their mortal tents, and the consequence 
is, that it requires the greatest exertions to prevent our 
general notions from becoming too drab-coloured ; so that 
when we read in the newspapers of the formation of the 
various corps, we merely shrugged our shoulders, and said, 
"Ah ! " in rather an admonitory tone ; and it was not until 
the announcement that the Queen would probably receive 
the officers and review the troops, that the possibility of 


there being a Grimgribber regiment dawned upon us. I 
am bound to confess that the idea did not originate with me> 
but with Jack Heatly, a young stockbroker, who was always 
looked upon as a dangerous character, and who, when at a 
very early stage of affairs he joined a metropolitan rifle 
corps, was considered as having booked himself for perdition. 
Under cover of the darkness of night, and with extraordinary 
mystery (for even his bold spirit quailed at the audacity of 
his plan), Jack paid me a visit one evening last December, 
and imparted to me his ideas for the formation of the 
Grimgribber volunteers. The first of his large-souled pro- 
positions was, that he should be made captain ; the second, 
that I should undertake all the work ; the third, that I 
should mention the scheme to all likely persons, in my own 
name at first, but if it met with approval, in his. 

I was struck with Jack's magnanimity, and fell into his 
views; so, likely persons were seen, and agreed at once to 
the rough outline of the scheme — Grimgribber should have 
a rifle corps ; that was decided on ; all details could be 
entered into at a public meeting, which should be forthwith 
advertised and held in the lecture-room of our Literary 
Institute. The consternation with which the drab-coloured 
portion of our population received this announcement cannot 
be described ; the head-shakings, the hand-upliftings were 
awful, and the accusative case of the second person singular 
was joined to every verb of monition and reproach, and 
applied to us rigorously. But we managed to make way 
even against this, and we held our meeting. One of the 
county members had promised to preside, and at eight 
o'clock the room was crammed and beginning to get noisy, 
but the county member had not arrived; then I, as secretary, 
explained this to the meeting, and proposed that someone 
else should take the chair ; and someone else accordingly 
took it, and had just reached a triumphant point in his 
peroration, when the door was burst open, and the county 


member walked in, in a white waistcoat and a rage ; and we 
had to begin all over again. But still we had a very great 
success. I had drawn up a set of rules, based on those of 
Jack Heatly's former corps, and these met with great 
approval ; an enemy had obtained admission, and he caused 
some disturbance by uttering a very loud and sarcastic 
" Hear, hear ! " after one of them which inflicted a fine of 
five shillings for discharging the rifle by accident ; and when 
I sat down, he rose and proceeded to comment on this 
rule, declaring it absurd to punish a person for an offence 
committed accidentally. But Jack got up, and in an oration 
of unexampled eloquence completely demolished our adver- 
sary, by proving to him what a consolation it would be to 
the surviving relations of any unfortunate person who might 
be thus killed, to think that the cause of the accident had 
been made to pay for his carelessness. And then an old 
gentleman, long resident in the village, and reputed to have 
been the author of some very spirited verses on the Prince 
Regent's coronation, which actually found their way into 
print, rose, and recited some poetry which he had forged for 
the occasion, in which Britannia was represented as bestow- 
ing crowns of laurel on each of her " commercial sons ; " 
and this brought the meeting to a close with a storm of 


On a convenient desk outside the meeting-room we had 
placed a large broadsheet, to which each intending " effec- 
tive " member was to sign his name, and before the lecture- 
hall was closed we had seventy signatures. The seventy 
pledged ones met the next day and elected their officers — 
Jack Heatly, of course, being chosen captain ; his brother, 
lieutenant ; and I myself receiving the distinguished post of 
ensign. To any gentleman content with moderate exercise 
and a good position, I recommend the ensign's berth ; his 


lungs are left intact, for he never has to shout the word of 
command ; he is never in that awful doubt which seizes 
upon the other officers as to whether they are " on the right 
flank," as he has simply to walk behind the rear rank in the 
centre of the company ; he is not liable to be shot by the 
enemy, or by his own men ; and he can gain a character 
for smartness with little trouble, by merely occasionally 
littering the caution, " Steady, now ! " " Easy in the centre ! " 
" Keep your fours in the wheel ! " and such-like mandates, 
delivered in an admonitory voice. He is, in fact, the Lord 
Burleigh of the company, and best comports himself by 
grave silence and stern military aspect. 

When the selection of officers had been made, we set to 
work and chose certain gentlemen to be members of council. 
We had seen that other corps had a council, and it was 
therefore necessary that we should have one ; but, beyond 
checking the expenses of the regiment, we were not at all 
clear as to what were the council's functions. We soon 
found out. The members of the council were exclusively 
privates, and it appeared that their first and most urgent 
duties were to oppose every arrangement made by the 
officers, and to endeavour in every possible manner to set 
the corps by the ears. Did Jack Heatly, as captain com- 
manding, issue an order, the council was down upon him 
like a shot, had him up like Othello before the Senate, and 
harangued him with Old-Bailey-like politeness and Central- 
Criminal-Court etiquette. Did the lieutenant, a shy and 
retiring young man, make a mistake in his word of 
command, he was summoned the next day before the 
Vehmgericht, had his error pointed out to him, was told to 
make himself immediately master of a few instructions con- 
tained in very small type in a fat red-covered quarto volume 
of some eight-hundred pages, and was dismissed with a 
rather more severe reprimand than if he had stolen a watch. 
Did I endeavour to come to the rescue, I was received with 


bland smiles and disbelieving shoulder-shrugs, and with 
pleasant hints that " the subaltern officers had really better 
not expose themselves." Now this was trying to all, 
especially to Jack Heatly, who is as explosive as a volcano, 
and who used to make a light meal off his lips and tongue 
in endeavouring to maintain his reticence ; but as the 
members of the council were indefatigable in their zeal at 
drill, punctual in their attendance, and showed thoroughly 
that they had the welfare of the corps at heart, we put up 
with it all, and got rapidly under weigh. 

Of course it was necessary that we should accumulate as 
ample funds as possible, besides the subscription of the 
members ; and with this view the council determined that a 
select few of us should call upon the inhabitants and ask 
for donations. The list of names was divided into three 
portions ; and I as junior officer had the most implacable 
enemies of the movement allotted to me to visit. Now it 
has been my fate to have been placed in many humiliating 
positions during my life. I have been compelled to act a 
knight in a charade with a tin-pot on my head for a helmet 
and a towel-horse for my charger, and in this guise to make 
love to a very stout old lady before the grinning faces of 
deriding friends. I have been asked to "do" an orange 
"nicely" for a young lady at dessert, and, owing to my 
having blind eyes and utterly immobile stiff fingers, have 
bungled thereat in a manner contemptible to behold. On 
the King's Road, at Brighton, I have ridden a flea-bitten 
gray horse, formerly a member of a circus, which, in the 
presence of hundreds of the aristocracy then and there 
assembled, persisted in waltzing to the music of a German 
band. But never was I so thoroughly ashamed of myself as 
on the errand of requesting donations for the Grimgribber 
volunteers. In ten places they told me plainly they would 
not give anything ; and next to those who gave willingly, I 
liked these best : in others, they shook their heads and 


sighed, and said it did not augur well for any movement 
which began by sending round the begging-box. Some were 
virtuously indignant, and denounced us as openly inciting 
foreign attack by our braggadocio ; some declined to give 
because they were comfortably persuaded that the end of 
the world was so close at hand that our services would 
never be required; one old farmer, known to be enormously 
rich and horribly penurious, offered us a threepenny-piece, a 
brass tobacco-box, and a four-bladed knife with a corkscrew 
in the handle. 

But perhaps my noblest interview was with Mr. Alumby, 
our senior churchwarden, who lives at The Hassocks, close 
outside the village, and who has the credit of being the best 
hand at an excuse of any man in the county. Overwhelm- 
ingly polite was Alumby, offered me a chair with the greatest 
hospitality, spoke about our Queen, our country, our 
national defences, and the patriotic body of men now 
coming forward, in a way that made my ears tingle ; but he 
declined to subscribe, on principle — on principle alone. In 
any other possible manner that he could aid us, he would ; 
but he could not give us money, as he thought such a 
proceeding zuould deprive the movement of its purely voluntary 
character ! I was so staggered that I paused for a moment, 
overcome ; then I suggested that this feeling might not 
prevent his helping us in another way : we wanted a large 
space to drill in — would he lend us his field ? He hesitated 
for a minute, and then asked if I meant his field in Grim- 
gribber, at the back of his house. On my replying in the 
affirmative, his face expressed the deepest concern • " he 

could not spare a blade of that grass, not a blade he 

required it all for grazing purposes, and it must not be 
trampled upon ; but he had considerable property in South 
Wales, and if that had been any use to us, he could have 
put hundreds of acres at our disposal." However, notwith- 
standing these rebuffs, we collected a very respectable 


sum of money, and thought ourselves justified in really 
commencing operations. Of course the first and most 
important operation was 


He to whom our military education was confided was a 
sergeant in the Welsh Bombardier Guards, and he brought 
with him a corporal of the same regiment as his assistant. 
The sergeant was short and stout; the corporal tall and 
thin ; both had hair greased to the point of perfection, and 
parted with mathematical correctness ; perched on the 
extreme right verge of his head the corporal accurately 
balanced a little cap. Off duty the sergeant was occasionally 
human in his appearance and manners, but the corporal 
never. In his mildest aspect he resembled a toy-soldier ; 
but when, either in giving command or taking it from his 
sergeant, he threw up his head, stiffened his body, closed 
his heels, and stuck out his hands like the signs at a French 
glove-shop reversed, I can find no words to describe his 
wooden nonentity. I think we all felt a little awkward at 
our first introduction to our instructors. They surveyed 
us, as we were drawn up in line, grimly and depreciatingly ; 
in obedience to a look from his superior, the corporal then 
fell a pace or two back and assumed the statuesque attitude; 
while the sergeant rapped his cane against his leg, and 
exclaimed: "Now, genTmen, fall in!" the first two 
words being uttered in his natural voice, the last two in 
an awful sepulchral tone, and sounding like a double rap on 
a bass kettle-drum. 

We " fell in " as we best could — that is, we huddled 
together in a long line — and were then " sized " by the 
sergeant, who walked gravely down the rank, and inspected 
us as though we had been slaves in the market of Tripoli, 
and he the Dey's emissary with a large commission to buy ; 
and then commenced our preliminary instruction. The 



first manoeuvre imparted to us was to " stand at ease " — a 
useful lesson, teaching us not only the knowledge of a 
strategic evolution, but giving us quite a new insight into the 
meaning of the English language. In our former benighted 
ignorance we might possibly have imagined that to stand at 
ease meant to put our hands in our pockets, to lean against 
the wall, or to lounge in any easy and comfortable manner ; 
but we now learned that, in order to stand really at ease, we 
should strike the palm of our left hand very smartly with 
the palm of our right, then fold the right over the back of 
the left in front of us, protrude our left foot, throwing the 
weight of the body on the right, and, in fact, place ourselves 
as nearly as possible in the attitude of Pantaloon when he is 
first changed by the fairy, minus his stick. It is an elegant 
and telling manoeuvre this, when properly executed, and 
possibly not very difficult of acquirement : but we did not 
fall into it all at once ; there was a diversity of opinion 
among us as to which was the proper foot to be advanced ; 
and when that was settled, we were at variance as to which 
was our right foot and which our left ; so that it was not until 
the sergeant had many times sarcastically assured us that 
" he couldn't hear them hands come smartly together as he'd 
wished — not like a row of corks a-poppin' one after the other, 
but all at once ; " nor until the stiff corporal had paraded 
up and down behind us, muttering, in a low tone : " Them 
left feet advanced — no, no ! them left feet advanced," that 
we were considered sufficiently perfect in this respect, and 
allowed to pass on to grander evolutions. The same 
difficulty was attendant upon these. On being told to 
" right face," two gentlemen, of diametrically opposed views 
on the subject, would find themselves face to face instead of 
being one behind the other, and neither would give way until 
they were set right by the sergeant. 

It was not until after some time that we hit upon the 
golden principle of drill, which is — never to think at 


all ! Listen, pay attention to the word of command as it 
is given, and then follow your first impulse; it will generally 
be the right one. But the recruit who hesitates is lost. 
Under the present system the simplest movements are 
taught — not by example, but in directions composed of 
long sentences abounding in technical expressions, listening 
to which the unhappy learner, long before the sergeant has 
come to the middle of his direction, is oblivious of the first 
part, ignorant of the meaning c. the last, and in a thorough 
fog as to the whole. These directions are learnt parrot- 
wise by the sergeants, and repeated in a monotonous and 
unintelligible tone ; the men who make use of them know 
no more what they are saying than those who are addressed ; 
and an example two minutes long does more good than an 
hour's precept. It is perfectly true that to the educated 
intelligence of the volunteers is due the superiority which, 
so far as rapidity of progress is concerned, they have shown 
over the ordinary recruits ; but a very slight exercise of this 
educated intelligence will suffice for most of the evolutions. 
When the command has been received on the tympanum, 
act upon it at once, without pausing to reflect. You will 
see many intelligent men bring upon themselves the wrath 
of their sergeant, simply because, in analysing and pondering 
on his instructions, they have missed the right time for 
action, and are half a minute or so behind the rest of their 
company. For instance, the command is given : " At the 
word ' Fours' the rear-rank will step smartly off with the 
left foot, taking a pace to the rear — Fours !" Or, in the 
sergeant's language : " Squad ! 'shun ! at th'wud ' Foz ' the 
rer-rank will stepsma't lyoffwi' th' leffut, tekkinapesstoth' 
rare — Fo-o-o-res ! " the last word being uttered in a pro- 
longed and discordant bellow. A reflective gentleman in 
the rear-rank first translates this dialect into the ordinary 
language of civilised life, and then proceeds to ponder on its 
meaning ; and when he has discovered it, he probably finds 


himself deserted by his comrades, who have taken up a 
position a pace behind him, and an object of disgust to the 
sergeant, who, looking at him more in pity than in anger, 
says, in a hoarse whisper, "Now, Number Three, what, 
wrong agin !" 

When I remember the unique series of performances 
that inaugurated our first lessons in marching, I cannot 
imagine that we were then the same set of Grimgribber 
volunteers who defiled so steadily before her Majesty the 
other day, amidst the bravos of enthusiastic crowds. I 
think our original evolutions were even sufficient to astonish 
our sergeant, a man not easily overcome ; for, at the con- 
clusion of the first lesson, I observed him retreat to a dis- 
tant corner of the parade-ground, strike himself a heavy 
blow on the chest, and ejaculate, " Well, if hever ! " three 
distinct times. I recollect that two-thirds of our number 
had peculiar theories of their own, and that each trying his 
own plan led to confusion. For instance, the gentleman 
who would step off with his right foot, at the third step 
found his leg firmly wedged between the ankles of his 
precursor, and utterly lost the use of that limb ; the light 
and swinging gait which was admirably adapted for the pursuit 
of a country postman was found scarcely to tally with the 
sober, slodgy walk of two-thirds of the corps, who were 
accordingly trodden down from the calf to the heel, and 
who did not view the matter with all the equanimity which 
good fellowship should engender. A third step, of a 
remedial tendency, consisting of a wide straddling of the 
legs, and an encircling of the feet of the person immediately 
in front of you by your own, was not agreeably received by 
the sergeant, and had to be abandoned ; so it was some 
time before we presented that unanimity of action which is 
necessary to satisfactory marching. 

But we stuck to it manfully, and progressed well. The 
sergeant, who at first seemed disposed to give us up in 


despair, because he could not swear at us as was his custom, 
began to take an interest in us ; and when we had overcome 
what he called the " roodymans " of drill, we took an 
interest in our instructions. We had a very stormy debate 
about our uniform, discussed every variety of gray and 
green, lost an exceedingly efficient member by declining to 
adopt what he called a " Garibaldi shako," but which, in 
plain English, was a green wagoner's hat with a cock's 
feather at the side ; and finally settled upon a very quiet 
and inexpensive dress. Then, of course, after a very long 
delay, we received our supply of rifles from the Government, 
and all the difficulties of drill were renewed ; but we over- 
came them at last, and even settled the great question as to 
which was the best and most intelligible word of command 
for shouldering arms — "Shalloo humps! "as given by the 
sergeant, or "Shoolah hiceF'as dictated by the corporal. 
We decided for " Shalloo humps," and have stuck to it ever 


It is almost unnecessary to say that our formation has 
made an intense impression on the Grimgribber mind, and 
that the first day of our appearance in public was anxiously 
looked forward to. We had purposely kept ourselves unseen 
by any save our own immediate relatives, and the unveiling of 
the Great Mokanna never caused greater astonishment than 
did our first outburst, preceded by the drums and fifes of the 
United Order of Ancient Buffaloes. We filed out two by 
two from the lecture-hall, and marched away to a field in the 
neighbourhood, there to perform our evolutions. Grim- 
gribber was present in its entirety — the richest and the 
poorest ; the men of peace and fighting ruffians from the 
beer-shops ; crinoline petticoats bulged against drab shorts 
and white stockings ; short clay pipes leered over cashmere 
shawls. A roar of delight burst forth as we turned out; we 


grasped our rifles firmly, raised our heads, inflated our chests, 
and threw out our sixty left legs like one. It was a proud 
moment ; but we were made to feel that, after all, we were 
but mortal, and the check we received was given to us by a 
very small boy, who looked at our ranks with a calmly 
critical eye, and hit upon a fatal blot. " Ah ! and ain't they 
all of a size, neither I" he exclaimed. His remark was 
greeted with laughter ; for our tallest man is six feet one, 
and our shortest (whom we hide away in the centre of the 
company) is only five feet two. However, we bore up nobly; 
we felt that even the great Duke of Wellington had been 
insulted in the streets ; and that we, who had not yet quite 
arrived at his eminence in military matters, ought to treat 
our aggressors with placidity and good humour. So we 
marched on to the field, and there went through all our 
evolutions with a steadiness and precision which entirely 
disarmed the boy, and changed him from a jeering ribald 
into an admiring spectator. 

So it has been ever since ; we have made quiet and 
steady but efficient progress ; our ranks have been swelled 
by daily additions ; we are labouring away at our target 
practice long before the drowsy drabmen have moved from 
their pillows ; and I hope that at the next time of writing I 
shall have to record that a prize at the meeting of the National 
Rifle Association has been gained by one of the Grimgribber 




Autumn being, according to the almanacs, close at hand, 
and many members of our corps feeling bound to absent 
themselves from the neighbourhood of the metropolis, and to 
disport in sylvan or sea-side regions, I see some chance 
of being enabled to get an evening to myself to chronicle 
our doings since the earliest stages of our formation. Up 
to this time it has been impossible. I thought that when 
I had mastered the difficulties of drill my labour would 
be at an end ; that I might once a week lead or rather 
follow the regiment to our parade-ground ; that on the other 
six days my helmet might have been used as a hive for bees, 
or any other rustic and pacific receptacle ; that our bugler 
would " sing truce " as soon as the Saturday night cloud had 
lowered, and would not call us again to arms for the entire 
space of a week ; in fact, that so long as we were well up in 
our manual and platoon, and could put our men through 
the ordinary evolutions of company and battalion drill, more 
would not be required of us. I was mistaken — as I often 
am, and always to my cost. I daresay that, had we remained 
as we originally formed ourselves, I could have arranged 
things with Jack Heatly and his brother, and we should have 



restricted our military ambition within proper limits ; but our 
corps increased so tremendously, so many fresh recruits 
came nocking to our standard, that we were obliged to form 
a second company, who, in their turn, elected their officers, 
and who chose for their captain a gentleman who, from his 
punctuality, exactitude, and strict attention to business, 
seems intended by Nature to supply the place of the late 
Duke of Wellington in these dominions. He was elected 
because he was a pleasant, strong, active young fellow, a good 
cricketer and oarsman, and such a maniac for dancing that 
he might have been a male Wili, or a victim to the bite of 
the tarantula. He was elected, and he thanked us. The 
next day on parade his true character burst forth ! He 
made us a speech, in which he said he had observed with 
regret that the discipline of the regiment was not such as 
could be wished. He was aware, he said (glancing at Jack 
Heatly, who was sitting on a camp-stool smoking a short 
pipe) — he was aware that we had been somewhat loosely 
looked after ; but that we might depend upon a strict super- 
vision in future. You may be astonished to hear that there 
were certain men who applauded this harangue ; rash young 
men who talked about " sticking to the thing," and " having 
no child's play •" but I myself trembled in my varnished 
gaiters. The next day Jack Heatly took a month's leave of 
absence and went out of town, and the new captain, De Tite 
Strongbow, became our commander-in-chief. I shall never 
forget that day ! it was a Saturday, and we had just gone 
through a series of the most complicated evolutions in a 
pouring rain ; I was in the armoury divesting myself of my 
soaked uniform and rusted sword, and privately wondering 
why I had voluntarily exposed myself to so much incon- 
venience, when the senior sergeant of the regiment 
presented himself before me. A pleasant man is Sergeant 
Piper, with a jolly round rubicund face, a merry black eye, 
and a nose that attests the goodness of the port-wine at the 


" Sternsail and Tiller " on the Essex shore ; which hotel he 
makes his summer residence. But dull was his appearance 
and solemn his expression as he made his military salute, 
and, merely saying " From the captain, sir," placed in my 
hands a large square printed paper. It was headed with the 
royal arms, and ran as follows : 


Arrangements for the week. 

Monday. — Second squad drill, at 2 p.m., by Ensign Rivers. 
Tuesday. — Platoon drill by Ensign Rivers, 2 p.m. 
"Wednesday. — First instruction in musketry, 7 p.m., by Captain 

Strongbow, assisted by Ensign Rivers. 
Thursday. — Second squad drill by Ensign Rivers, 2 p.m. 
Friday. — Lecture on the dissection of the lock, by Captain 

Strongbow, assisted by Ensign Rivers, 4 p.m. 
Saturday. — The regiment will march out for battalion drill on 

Squash Common. All the officers will attend. Gaiters if 

wet, but no greatcoats on any account. 

Ensign Rivers is officer of the week ; and any gentleman 

requiring any information on any point must apply to him. 

De Tite Strongbow, 

Captain Commanding. 

I, the present writer, am Ensign Rivers, whose name is 
so frequently mentioned in this abominable document! I 
rushed off to Strongbow's rooms — he lives with his father, 
the eminent drysalter, but has a little outbuilding next the 
stables especially appropriated to his use. As I near this 
pavilion I heard strange sounds of stamping, mingled with 
thwacking of weapons, and cries of " Ha, ha ! had you 
there ! " Entering, I found Strongbow stripped to his shirt, 
and busily engaged in belabouring the corporal, who, 
wooden as ever, solemnly defended himself with a single- 
stick. "Hallo !" says Strongbow, "come for more orders, 
Ensign?" I boil over, I object, I appeal — all in vain. 


" What will the men say when they see their officers shirk- 
ing duty ? " Fruitlessly do I urge that I know nothing of 
the musketry instruction, or the dissection of the lock ; he 
gives me books — -enormous volumes — which he bids me 
study. For a moment I waver in my allegiance ; I have a 
faint notion of requesting Her Majesty to be graciously 
pleased to accept my resignation of my commission ; but 
better thoughts prevail, and I go to work. I drill the 
second squad ; I pass a bright afternoon in the dull lecture- 
room of the Mechanics' Institute, where the Map of Europe 
glares feebly at me from the damp-stained wall, and where 
the mullioned windows rattle dismally at the tramping of 
the recruits. Painfully and wearily do I go through the 
different evolutions, and tight and gordian-like is the knot 
into which I once or twice get myself and all the men, and 
have to summon the stiff corporal to my assistance, amidst 
furtive grins and whispered hints of " Try back." But I did 
get through it at last, and next day accomplished the 
platoon drill, with directions, and in a manner that struck 
the corporal mute with horror. It has been malevolently 
remarked that the gentlemen who benefited by my instruc- 
tion have since been recognisable principally by a habit of 
invariably carrying their rifles at full cock, and secondly by 
the slight omission of neglecting to withdraw their ramrods 
after loading with blank cartridge : a disadvantage which is 
apt to be unpleasantly felt by their comrades when they are 
placed as " a rear-rank standing." But this is mere envy. 


It was so called in the Orders for the week, because it is 
rather a fine phrase. I believe, however, that the real 
technical unvarnished name of this performance is "Pre- 
liminary Drill for cleaning Arms." A select class attended 
Captain Strongbow's first instruction-lecture on the Wednes- 


day evening ; but I shall better be able to give an account 
of their proceedings by adopting the dramatic form. 

Scene — Captain Stronghold's rooms. Evening. Moderator- 
lamp alight in centre. Captain Strongbow at head of 
table; a long Enfield Rifle and two veiy ominous-looking 
red books by his side. Privates and sergeants of the corps 
gathered round him. Ensign Rivers standing immediately 
behind the Captain, where he has the least chance of being 
seen by him. and looking doubtfully on. The opening 
portion of the lecture has already been given. 

Captain Strongbow {proceeding). Now, gentlemen, I 
will once more run through what I have said, before 
questioning you. Now, gentlemen, the principal parts of 
the rifle are the stock and the barrel. (He takes up rifle, 
and points to each part as he names it.) The stock is divided 
into the nose-cap, the upper, middle, and lower bands, the 
swell, projections, lock-side, head, small, trigger-guard, 
trigger-plate, trigger, butt, and heel-plate. Once more ! 
(He repeats ail the names.) Now, Mr. Lobjoit, what is this 
called ? (Laying his hand on the nose-cap.) 

Lobjoit [who is a horsey man, and is always ivishing we 
were cavalry). Nose-bag ! 

Capt. S. {disgusted). What do you say, Mr. Pruffle ? 

Pruffle {a slow., middle-aged gentleman, who has entered the 
force with the sole object of learning how to defend his large 
family). Night-cap ! 

Capt. S. {more disgusted). Now, Mr. Skull, what is it ? 

Skull {looking blankly at it through his spectacles). Ton 
my soul, I don't know ! 

Capt. S. {profoundly disgusted). Really, this is too bad! 
Is there no gentleman present, who can remember what this 
is called ? 

Sergeant Fluke. Eh ? of course ; yes i I can ! It's the 


— the — the nose-cap, of course ! {Aside, to next neighbour) 
Gad ! what a good shot ! 

Capt. S. {overjoyed). Very good ; very good indeed, 
Sergeant Fluke ! Ensign Rivers, I must trust to your 
honour not to prompt the gentlemen ! 

Ensign R. You may rely upon my doing nothing of the 
sort, sir ! {N.B. — This is strictly correct, as Ensign Rivers 
knows rather less about it than anyone in the room. ) 

Capt. S. Now, Sergeant Fluke, can you touch any other 
parts of the stock, and tell me their names ? 

Fluke. Oh yes, of course ! {Glibly.) This is the barrel, 

Capt. S. Parts of the stock, I said. The stock and the 
barrel are two distinct things. 

Private J. Miller {the funny man of the corps — aside to his 
neighbour). Not at a cooper's or a brewer's ; there, the 
barrels constitute the stock ! 

Private Miller's neighbour {derisively). Oh ! ho ! ain't 
you funny ! 

Capt. S. Silence, gentlemen, pray ! Now, Sergeant 
Fluke ? 

Fluke. Well, you know, this is the trigger, and this is 
the butt. 

Capt. S. Which is the heel of the butt, Mr. Pruffle ? 

Pruffle {touching the wrong end). This, sir. 

Capt. S. No, no ! that's not the heel ; that's the 
toe ! 

Private Miller. Heel and toe ! I say, Pruffle, my 
pimpkin, which is the double-shuffle ? 

Capt. S. Mr. Miller, I shall be compelled to call upon 
you to retire, if you persist in this buffoonery ! {Private 
Miller makes a grimace of preternatural ugliness behind 
his neighbour's back, hums the Dead March in Saul, and 
crosses his hands to simulate a handcuffed deserter about to be 


Capt. S. Now, then, let us take the barrel. 

Private Milici: Ah ! some of us have taken to that 

Cap/. S. Taken to what ? 

Miller. To the barrel, sir ! Don't mind me. Go on ! 

Capt. S. {touching them). The muzzle, foresight, back 
or elevating sight, nipple, breech, breech-pin. Component 
parts of the breech-pin : face, tang, and breech nail- 
hole. What are the component parts of the breech-pin, 
Mr. Lobjoit? 

Lobjoit (rapidly). Face, fangs, and breeches-nails ! 

Capt. S. (in despair). This is dreadful ! I don't know 
what they'd say to you at Hythe ! 

Miller. He'll never go there, sir ; no more shall I. I 
say, Lobjoit, old boy, fancy their catching us playing at 
Hythe among the Sikhs. 

Capt. S. (with dignity). I shall leave you out of the 
course, Mr. Miller ! (Miller feigns to weep, and dry his eyes 
on the back of his hand.) Now, once more, before I give up. 
The component parts of the back or elevating sight are 
the flanges, flap, slider, spring, and bed. Name them, 
Mr. Skull. 

Skull (yawning). The principal part of the back-sight 
is the spring-bed. 

Capt. S. (rising in disgust). No more at present ! 

(Exeunt all but Strongbow, who sits up half the night studying 
the theory of trajectories.) 


We had attended the Wimbledon meeting and the 
Chislehurst sham-fight, and had covered ourselves with 
glory at both ; but there was nothing to look forward to, 
and the perpetual platoon exercise and theoretical musketry 
instruction began to grow monotonous. The attendance 


of men was a trifle falling off; and I had suggested to 
Captain Strongbow that he should hurry on the preparation 
of our butts, and get us out to "judging distances" and firing 
with ball-cartridge as speedily as possible, when we received 
intimation of an approaching event which brought back all 
those who were beginning to lapse. When our numbers 
increased, and we grew too large for the Mechanics' Institute 
or Toddler's Yard, we looked about for some suitable drill- 
ground ; but there was no place to be had, and we were in 
despair, when the principal of Dulciss's Grimgribber 
College, hearing of our extremity, came forward in the 
kindest manner and placed the grounds of that establish- 
ment at our disposal. Dulciss's College is not, as you 
may probably imagine, a scholastic institution for young 
gentlemen; it is a retreat, a refuge, a harbour for elderly 
gentlemen who have been broken and buffeted by the 
tempests of the world : a roadstead where they may ride 
safely at anchor for the remainder of their lives, comfortably 
housed and tended, and provided with a small income to 
supply themselves with necessaries. The only qualifications 
for candidates are, that they shall have been born in Grim- 
gribber, shall have exceeded sixty years of age, and shall be 
without pecuniary resources. It is not difficult to find many 
who can fulfil these requirements, and the college is always 
full ; there, slowly pacing up and down the shady cloisters, 
or sitting sunning themselves on the worm-eaten old benches 
outside the porch, are the old fellows constantly to be seen, 
wearing their old black cloaks and queer shovel-hats as 
decreed by the founder, old Sir Thomas Dulciss, who died 
two hundred years ago. Attached to their prettily-terraced 
garden is a fine open meadow of several acres ; but the old 
collegians rarely stroll so far; and when, under the permission 
of the principal, we held our first drill therein, none of them 
even came out to look at us, or took the trouble to inquire 
what we were doing. But a little later, on a fine spring day, 


they came down in a knot and stood close by, watching our 
movements ; and as the words of command rang out, two or 
three of them, evidently old soldiers, straightened their poor 
bent backs and cocked their shovel-hats with the ghost of a 
military swagger ; and one, a very old man, hobbled back to 
the college, whence he returned with his black cloak thrown 
very much back, and a Waterloo medal gleaming on his brave 
old breast. When drill was over, we gave him a cheer that 
brought the fire into his dim eyes and the flush into his withered 
cheeks. Then Mrs. Principal, a benevolent old lady, and the 
two Miss Principals, very dashing girls, got in the habit 
of coming to watch us ; and the Miss Principals brought 
their friends, and the friends brought their cavaliers ; so that 
at last we used to exhibit before quite a bevy of spectators. 
One day Sir Gregory Dulciss, the present representative of 
the great family, was at the college on business; and hearing 
of this, we formed on the terrace and saluted the great man, 
presenting arms to him as he came out. Sir Gregory was 
greatly touched at this, called it audibly a " dayvlish gratifying 
mark of 'tention," made us several bows modelled on those 
of his great friend, the late King George the Fourth, and 
hoped to meet us again. And a few days afterwards it was 
officially announced that Lady Dulciss intended presenting 
us with a silver bugle. 

This it was that caused the new excitement ; this it was 
that brought up the few laggards, and caused the many 
who had hitherto been indefatigable to show even greater 
attention. It was determined that we should have a great 
day ; it was understood that a select company would come 
over from the Radishes, Sir Gregory's house ; that the 
neighbourhood generally would attend ; and there was to 
be a tent with a cold collation for the corps, while the 
officers were invited to a champagne luncheon at the 
principal's. Such furbishing-up of arms and accoutrements, 
such worrying of tailors and armourers, such private drill 


among the men, and such minute inquiries among the 
officers as to the exact meaning of " recover swords \ ' 

The day arrived and the hour. Headed by our band 
(their first appearance in public — rather nervous and shaky, 
a trifle agitated in the trombone, and a thought Punch-and- 
Judyish about the big drum, but still playing capitally), we 
marched through the village and into the field. The pro- 
fane vulgar were not allowed to come inside, but they 
clustered thickly round the gates and swarmed about the 
palings like bees. Very good and searching were the 
remarks of the boys. " Walk up ! walk up ! just agoin' to 
begin ! " shouts one, as the band passed. " Hooray for the 
Workus Corps ! " says another, in allusion to our neat gray 
uniform. " Here's the pauper lunatics with their throats 
cut!" says a third, hinting at the red stripe on our collars. 
" Hallo, Bill," says a boy perched on the gate, "here's your 
huncle ! " "I see him," responds Bill, a grimy-faced cynical 
young blacksmith — " I see him, but I never takes no notice 
on him when he's with his Wolunteers /" And we passed 
on into the field. The white tent glimmered in the sun, 
and the ground was covered with company. The Dulciss 
people had brought some great acquaintances with them, 
country grandees in their carriages, dashing girls on horse- 
back, and three or four young Guards' officers who came to 
scoff, and remained to prey — upon the luncheon. To pass 
this lot was the great ordeal. " Keep up, rear rank ! " 
" Steady in the centre ! " " Touch to the left, Jenkins ; 
where the deuce are you going to ? " The first and second 
companies went by splendidly. " Weally, not so bad, now, 
for quill-drivers and mechanics," says young Lithpson of the 
Bombardiers to Jack Gorget of the Body Guards, mauve. 
Jack nods approvingly; then, as the third company 
advances, headed by Tom Exlex, who was in the Spanish 
service under General Evans, and wears his Sebastian medal 
and San Fernando cross on his breast, Jack says earnestly 


though ungrammatically : " Hallo, what's this swell's deco- 
rations ? " ' ; Ton my soul, I can't say," answers Lithpson ; 
" pwobably some weward for supewiour penmanship." 

But we could afford to laugh even at such bitter sarcasm 
as this, so well were our evolutions performed, and so 
heartily were they applauded. Finally we were drawn up 
in line, and, amidst the cheers of the populace, Lady 
Dulciss advanced, followed by a portentous servant bearing 
the bugle on a cushion. Lady Dulciss is a very fine 
woman : a kind, benevolent, motherly-looking lady, and I've 
no doubt she made an excellent speech. It was intended 
for the entire regiment, but she delivered it in a confidential 
tone to Jack Heatly, who stood in front of her, and all we 
caught was " Britannia," " bugle," " Grimgribber," and " call 
to arms." Then she presented the bugle gracefully to -Jack, 
who, in his intense nervousness, instantly dropped it, and 
she and he and Sir Gregory and the portentous footman all 
struggled for it on the ground. Then the band played 
" God save the Queen," the people cheered louder than 
ever, and we broke off and went in to lunch. 



In the spring, according to Mr. Tennyson, the wanton lap- 
wing gets himself another nest, a brighter iris changes on 
the burnished dove, and a young man's fancy lightly turns 
to thoughts of love. These are unanswerable facts ; but 
here is another vernal incident, which, probably because 
Locksley Hall was written before the institution of the 
volunteer movement, has been unnoticed by the poet. In 
the spring the gentlemen attached to the various rifle corps, 
whose ardour has been chilled by the dreary winter, and 
whose time has been consumed in festivity, suddenly recall 
the fact that the eyes of their country are earnestly fixed on 
them for its defence. I am proud to say that we of the 
Grimgribbers were, theoretically, early in the field. No one 
who knows Captain De Tite Strongbow will imagine that he 
would have allowed us to be laggards. This indefatigable 
young man has never relaxed in his exertions. After the 
presentation of our bugle, recorded in the previous chapter, 
the ardour of the members thawed, and the general voice 
resolved itself into a-dieu ; that is to say, half the men 
went to the Continent, and the other half to the seaside. 
Before we broke up, Captain Strongbow called a battalion 
drill, when the prevalent disorder showed itself in an 
eruption of moustaches of a week's growth, and in the 
bulging of Continental Bradshaws from uniform pockets. 


Strongbow noticed this, and, as I may express it in the 
language of the Wardour Street Elizabethan drama, "advan- 
taged himself of the occasion." He put us through some 
of the most difficult and most perspiration-causing move- 
ments in the Field Exercise Book, and then, having formed 
us into a square and faced us inward, he solemnly addressed 
us. He said that he grieved to find a general disposition 
for a holiday, a disposition by no means in accordance with 
that solemn pledge which we had given when we voluntarily 
placed our services at her Majesty's disposal. He mildly 
hinted that anyone declining to attend parade or drill when 
summoned, was guilty of perjury in its grossest form ; and 
he asked us where we expected to go to? Through the 
dead silence which followed this appeal, the voice of the 
ill-conditioned Private J. Miller was heard, suggesting 
" Margate;" but the ribaldry had effect on none but a few 
hardened scoffers. However, it was useless attempting to 
stop the threatened exodus ; and, after suggesting that those 
who visited the Continent should keep a sharp eye upon 
the foreign troops, " with whom they might be called upon 
to cross bayonets" (an idea which made a profound im- 
pression on Private Pruffle) ; and that they should take 
measures for becoming generally acquainted with the 
defensive works of such foreign fortresses as they might 
happen to come across ; and after recommending the stay- 
at-homes to attach themselves to the garrison of the sea- 
port town where they might be staying, and pass an easy 
month of relaxation in attending three drills a day and 
perusing the Field Exercise Book in the evening, Captain 
Strongbow dismissed us with a benediction. 

I do not believe that anyone, save Strongbow himself 
(who went first to Hythe and then to Shorncliffe, and passed 
the remainder of the autumn in endeavouring to improve 
the Armstrong gun), paid the smallest attention to the 
recommendation. Pruffle was seen with a wideawake hat 

k 2 


and a telescope on Southend pier. Lobjoit broke three 
colts and his own leg among the Yorkshire spinneys. Skull 
went to Worthing, and fell into a chronic state of sleep and 
seaweed. Private Miller, though he certainly visited 
Aldershot, only went for one night to assist at the military 
theatre in an amateur performance. We all went away and 
did cathedrals, and mountain passes, and ruined abbeys, 
and lay on beaches, and swam, and mooned, and enjoyed 
ourselves ; and by the time we returned to Grimgribber we 
had nearly forgotten the existence of our noble corps. 

The Quakers were in ecstasies ; they knew it ; had they 
not prophesied it ? " Friend, did I not tell thee ? " etc. etc. 
All of which so roused the ire of De Tite Strongbow, that 
one day early in October, every dead-wall, tree, and post in 
Grimgribber blossomed with a blue-and-red announcement 
of a " Parade on the Common on Saturday next." 

The day came and the hour, but not the menj that is to 
say, there was not a very great muster. Parties of two and 
three came straggling up the lane, evidently intending 
merely to look on ; but they were spied by the vedettes 
posted by Strongbow at available situations, and immediately 
hailed by that energetic officer in stentorian tones and 
appealing phrases, all of which commenced : " Hallo ! you 
sirs ! " The persons addressed, recognising the voice, 
generally feigned total deafness, looked round in a vacant 
manner, and commenced a retreat ; but Strongbow was by 
their side before they had gone three paces, and by coaxing, 
wheedling, and bullying, induced most of them to proceed 
to the Common, so that at last two-thirds of our total 
number were present. 

The day will be for ever remembered by the Grimgribber 
Volunteers ; on it they were initiated into the mysteries of 
rifle-shooting ; on it they laid the foundation of that system 
of skill which will, I doubt not, enable them to carry off the 
Queen's prize and a few other trifles at the forthcoming 


Wimbledon meeting ; on it they commenced the practice of 
a series of fearful gymnastics, compared with which the 
crank is a light and easy amusement, and the stone- 
excavating at Portland a pleasant pastime. 

We had executed our " company-drill " in a singularly 
fanciful manner, remarkable chiefly for its divergence from 
prescribed rule. Long absence from parade had rendered 
us rusty and entirely oblivious of the meaning of the various 
commands. Thus, at the word " fours," the rear rank, 
instead of stepping smartly back, remained perfectly 
stationary, while a pleasant smile overspread the faces of 
most of its members at what they considered the extra- 
ordinary conduct of the two or three knowing ones who 
moved. In wheeling, the difference of opinion between the 
men was even more plainly exemplified ; for, while some 
clung close to the pivot man, others ambled away into the 
far distance, while the centre portion distributed their 
favours equally between the two, rushing sometimes to the 
one end, sometimes to the other; so that, instead of coming 
up " like a wall," as had so often been urged upon us, we 
serpentined about in a very graceful festoon, and resembled 
nothing so much as the letter S. From my ensign's position 
in the rear I had watched Captain Strongbow's face during 
the performance of these manoeuvres, and had every 
moment expected to see it overcloud ; but, to my astonish- 
ment, he remained perfectly calm, and, at the conclusion of 
the drill, he called us together, told us we should soon 
,: pick up our movements," but that he had something of 
far greater importance in store for us. He here stated that 
it was most important that we should perfect ourselves in 
the practical portion of shooting ; that he had already 
prepared four sergeants who would undertake to instruct 
various sections of the corps; and that on that evening the 
first meeting for position-drill would take place at his 
CStrongbow's) rooms. He hoped he should have a good 


attendance, and concluded by telling us to bring our rifles,, 
and not to eat too much dinner. What could that last 
caution mean? Alas, in a very few hours we knew its 
value ! 


Scene — A barn attached to Captain Strongbow's house. 
Rather a bleak and cheerless place, with targets painted in 
black-and-white on the walls. A flaring lamp on a bracket 
lights only the end portion of the place. Some ten members 
of the corps, sergeants and privates, are lounging about, 
waiting to begin business. Captain Strongbow, by himself 
aiming at a painted target with marvellous precision. 

Enter Private Miller, smoking a short clay pipe ; he stares 
round at the painted targets on the walls, and then shouts in a, 
hoarse, voice " Here y'ar ! Now's your time ! Three shots 
for sixpence ! Try your fortune at the Little Vunder, gents ! 
Pint o' nuts for him as hits the bull's-eye !" 

Captain Strongbow (aghast). For Heaven's sake, stop 
this most discreditable noise, Mr. Miller ! 

Miller {in broken and melodramatic tones). Pardon me, 
noble captain, but the sight of these targets reminded me of 
the Greenwich fairs of early youth ! 

Strongbow. Pray, silence, Mr. Miller ! It is impossible 
to get on if you indulge in buffoonery. Now, gentlemen. 
Fall in ! (Sergeants and privates range themselves in line.) I 
am about to put you through position-drill ; a course of 
instruction which habituates for the correct position for firing, 
and teaches you the natural connection between the hand 
and the eye. What are you smiling at, Mr. Skull ? 

Skull. Nothing, nothing ; only Miller 

Strongbow. Miller ■ what ? 

Skull. Miller said that Mr. Mace in the last prize-fight 
taught Mr. Hurst the natural connection between the hand 
and the eye ! 


Slrongbow. This is most disheartening ! Now ! There 
are three practices. The first word of command in the first 
practice is, "As a rear rank standing at three hundred yards, 
Ready." On the word "Ready," make a half-face to the right, 
feet at right angles, grasp the rifle firmly with the left hand, 
fingers of right hand behind the trigger-guard, body erect, 

left side perpendicular, left breast over left foot, shoulders 

Private Pruffle. Stop, sir, pray stop {confusedly). I can't 
recollect half that ! I've a short memory ! What did you 
say after making a face ? 

{Captain Slrongbow repeats the instructions. All listen 
attentively, especially Private Miller, who places his hand 
behind his ear, bends forward, and assumes the attitude of the 
stage savage expecting the " paleface") 

Slrongbow. Now, as a rear rank standing at three hun- 
dred yards, ready ! {all move except Skull). Did you hear 
me, Mr. Skull ? Ready ! 

Miller. Don't you hear, Skull ? Ready ! Present ! 
Fire ! {kicks Mr. Skull just above the calf of his legs and nearly 
brings him to the ground). 

Slrongbow. Try that again ! {motion repeated several times). 
Now, at the word " Present," without moving the body, 
head, eye, or hand in the slightest degree, throw the rifle 
smartly to the point of the right shoulder, at full extent of 

the left arm 

Lobjoit {a coarse person). Gammon ! 
Slrongbow. What, sir? 

Lobjoit. Stuff, sire ! Can't fling a rifle about without 
moving your hands ! Don't believe in that ! 

Slrongbow. Pray don't interrupt ; it's all correct ; done 
at Hythe ; perfectly possible. Now — P' sent I 

{Five men throw out their rifles bravely to the frotit, three 
bring up theirs slowly and sneakingly, two boldly support their 
elbows on their knees, and look as if they were performing a 
rather meritorious action than otherwise. ) 


The position-drill proceeded, but it was very hard work. 
We speedily noticed that when Strongbow had any instruc- 
tion to give, he invariably chose the time when we were at 
the " Present," i.e. when the strain upon our muscles in 
holding out the rifle was tremendous. After two seconds 
you would perceive the muzzle of the extended rifle begin 
to quiver in a very singular manner, then the body of the 
gentleman holding it would begin to rock about from the 
knees upwards, and finally, when he received the grateful 
command to " ease springs," he would give vent to an 
exclamation something between the ejaculation of a pavior, 
and the " characteristic ' hugh ' " of Mr. Fenimore Cooper's 
Indians, and add, "'Gad, I'm nearly done up !" 

The art of comporting oneself as a " rear rank standing " 
having been acquired, we were initiated into the mysteries 
expected from a " front rank kneeling ; " and these gym- 
nastics proved even yet more serious and invincible. For a 
gentleman of large frame, and accustomed to a well-stuffed 
easy-chair, to have to sit for five minutes on his right keel, 
and that alone, is by no means an easy matter ; but the 
difficulty is considerably aggravated when he has to perform, 
while in this attitude, feats of manly strength in connection 
with throwing out a rifle to the full extent of his left arm. He 
has then to take aim at the target on the wall ; and about this 
time, and just when he begins to puff dreadfully, he will hear 
a stentorian shout from the instructor: "What are you doing, 
sir? restrain your breathing ! restrain your breathing, for 
Heaven's sake ! " The unhappy man endeavours to do this 
and to follow all the other directions given him in the 
slowest time, thus : " P'sent ! to — oo — ooo ! thre — ee — eee ! 
fo — o — war ! f — 'ive ! " until at the end, when he is called 
upon to spring smartly up to " Attention ! " what with 
breath-holding and extra exertion, he resembles a boiled 
lobster in colour, and is shaking in every limb. 

The judging-distance drill is an equally humorous but 


considerably less fatiguing evolution. Its object is to enable 
the soldier to note the difference in the appearance of men 
at different distances : a happy result, which is apparently 
accomplished by sending several of the persons to be ob- 
served completely out of the range of any but the sharpest 
sight. Points are thrown out at certain allowed distances 
up to three hundred yards, and the men under instruction 
are told the distance, and made to observe the appearance 
of the "points." Then the "points" are sent out at 
unknown distances, and the men have to give their opinion 
of the distance at which these points are placed, the answers 
being noted in a register. We had some little difficulty at 
first in preventing the " points " from running away alto- 
gether, or slipping into the public-house when the instructor's 
back was turned. The guesses of some of the men were 
perfectly miraculous in their inaccuracy ; and it was ob- 
served that whenever Private Miller whispered his ideas on 
distance to the sergeant, that functionary would be con- 
vulsed, and rendered so oblivious of decorum as to attempt 
to write without any ink, and to make futile scratches on 
his register. It was afterwards discovered that the ill-con- 
ditioned Miller, instead of giving his ideas of distance, was 
whispering the latest riddle in the ears of the instructor. 
Even he, however, owned to the value of the judging- 
distance practice, declaring that after a few lessons he 
should be able to recognise, and consequently to avoid, his 
tailor, if he saw him at the other end of Pall Mall. 

So we progressed through our difficulties, until we 
numbered some excellent shots among us. We are to be 
inspected by Colonel M'Murdo very shortly, to take part in 
the Wimbledon rifle contest and in the grand review, where 
we shall have plenty of opportunities of distinguishing our- 
selves. I shall not fail to chronicle our movements. 



He was a discontented man, the omnibus-driver, and he 
said generally that he didn't like it. Wolunteers might be 
good, he said, and they mightn't — leastways, what noise they 
made, frightening horses with bangin' bands and such-like, 
wasn't much 'count : lawyers they was, and clinks, and 
ribbing-coves (understood by present writer to be drapers'' 
assistants), and such-like. Rifle-matches — ah ! well, he'd 
heard tell, but hadn't seen much of that game, further than 
the Red House at Battersea, and for nuts at Greenwich 
Fair. If they was any good — as men — do you see ? they'd 
come up to Copenhagen House, or the Brecknock, at Easter 
Monday, and have a back-fall with those parties that came 
up from Devonshire and the North. Wolunteers ! he 
thought he knew a young man in the public line not far 
from Tottenham, which — he was all fair and 'bove-board — 
which it was at Wood Green, his name being Obble, what 
could show them Wolunteers something at knurr-and-spell : 
let 'em come with their fur-caps and all their fandangoes ! 
Here he grew defiant, and elbowed me fiercely with his- 
whip-arm. The whole affair was bellicose. I was on a 
Waterloo omnibus, going to the Waterloo station on my 
way to Wimbledon, then under martial law ; and seeing 
that the taint had got into the driver's blood, and fearing 


lest he should kick me with his bluchers, I remained silent, 
and never opened my mouth until I asked for my railway- 

But when I had curled into my corner in the railway- 
carriage, and had taken stock of the arms, accoutrements,, 
and general appearance of the three privates and the ensign 
who went down with me, and had weaned my ears from 
drinking in the pompous rhetoric of the other occupant of 
our compartment, a gentleman of very imposing appearance, 
to whom, according to his own account, Wimbledon was 
indebted for its tenure of existence, I began to ponder over 
the omnibus-driver's remarks ; and his reminiscences of 
Battersea Red House, and the nuts at Greenwich Fair, 
reminded me of what my idea of a rifle-match was, as 
embodied in the last one in which I took part. Sixteen 
years, I thought, have passed since I went down, rifle in 
hand, to a long strip of meadow bordering the Rhine, and 
paid my money to become a competitor at the Diisselberg 
Schiitzen Fest. A pretty quiet spot, flanked on one side by 
other meadows filled with large-uddered mild-eyed cows, 
whose bells tinkled pleasantly in the ears of the competitors, 
and on the other by the rapid-rushing river. There were 
some half-dozen painted wooden targets, arranged on the 
Swiss system ; while a little distance apart, on the top of a 
high pole, towered a popinjay, to hit which was the great 
event of the day. The spectators of the friendly contest, 
varying, according to the time of day, from one to three 
hundred, were all townspeople well known to the marksmen 
and to each other, and occupied their time either in coming 
to the firing-posts and giving utterly vague and incoherent 
advice to their favourites, or in examining with deep 
reverence the prizes, consisting of two silver-mounted 
bierglaser, and a few electrotyped Maltese crosses bearing 
the name of the Schiitzen Fest and the date, one of which I 
saw the other day in a dressing-table drawer, with a few old 


letters, an odd glove or two, a hacked razor-strop, a partially- 
obliterated daguerreotype, and such-like lumber. I don't 
think we shot well ) I know that an enlightened public 
would not have liked our appearance, and that General Hay 
would have objected to our attitudes, which were anything 
but Hythe-position. I am certain that the merest tyro of a 
recruit would have scorned our rifles, which required several 
seconds' notice before they went off; and I have no doubt 
that we were supremely ridiculous ; but I am equally certain 
that we were undeniably happy. The great charm, I thought, 
of such a meeting as that which I am recalling and that to 
which I am going, is its quiet — the change from the bustle 
and roar of ordinary life to the calm tranquillity, the noise- 
less serenity, of open country space. If I felt it then, when 
merely straying from the monastic seclusion of my university, 
how shall I enjoy it now, when flying from the ceaseless hum 
of London ! How pleasant will be the open heath, dotted 
here and there with rifle-ranges and marksmen, the freedom 
from bustle and noise, the picturesque surroundings, the 
fresh turf, the elastic air, the — Putney ! The voice of the 
guard announcing my destination breaks upon my reverie. 
I jump out of the carriage, and, ascending the steps of the 
station, I emerge, 

Into Pandemonium. Into a roaring, raving, shouting 
crowd ; into a combination of the road to the Derby and 
Aldershot Heath on a field-day in June ; for you have every 
component part of both. Enormous rolling clouds of dust, 
a heterogeneous mass of carriages, open and shut, some 
regularly licensed, others improvised for the occasion and 
bearing a paper permit obtained impromptu from Somerset 
House and gummed on to the panels ; the drivers of the 
vehicles shouting, shrieking, touting, beckoning, and gesticu- 
lating with whips, carneying weak-minded and hustling feeble- 
bodied persons into becoming passengers ; gipsies, beggars; 
imps, with the bronze of the country on their faces and the 


assurance of London in their address, vending cigar-lights, 
showing the way, turning " cart-wheels," and being generally 
obstructive ; volunteer officers clanking a good deal, and 
volunteer privates unbuttoning their tunics and showing- 
more shirt-front than is provided for in the regulations ; 
public-houses crammed and overflowing into the road with 
drink-seeking wayfarers ; station-porters giving up all idea of 
business, and flitting from one knot of people to the other, 
sipping here, sporting there, like butterflies in velveteen. 
The inhabitants of Putney evidently divided into two 
sections — the natives, who gathered together in grinning 
masses, who chuckled fat-headedly, and sniggered, and saw 
a grand opportunity for shirking work and passing the entire 
day in vacant staring ; and the affiliated, acclimatised, or 
naturalised Putneians, who are grubs in the City from nine 
till five, and butterflies at Putney for the remaining portion 
of their lives, and whose wives and daughters looked upon 
the whole thing as " low," and glared balefully at us from 
their plate-glass windows. I managed to survive even their 
scowls, and installed myself as one of a cheerful though 
perspiring party of seven, in a carriage intended to hold 
four (and looking, in its check-chintz lining, as though it had 
come out in its dressing-gown), which, after five minutes' 
dalliance with a knotted whip, a very flea-bitten gray horse 
was persuaded to drag up the hill towards the camp. 

As we neared the spot, I was reminded of my friend the 
omnibus-driver's observations anent Greenwich Fair and 
shooting for nuts ; for I am bound to say that, in the course 
of a long and varied experience, I never saw anything so like 
a fair as the Wimbledon camp seen from the outside. A 
wooden railing, shabby enough in itself, and rendered more 
shabby by the torn and ragged bills sticking to it, surrounds 
the camp ; from within float sounds of distant bands, popping 
rifles, and cheering populace ; while immediately outside stands 
that salvage of nothing-doing, lounging, thieving, drunken 


scum invariably to be found in the immediate vicinity of all 
fairs. On first entering, the same idea prevailed, for there, 
were a few miserable little booths, in front of which one ex- 
pected to see painted canvases of the giantess, the armadillo, 
and the tiger that devoured the Indian on horseback. But 
as I progressed up the ground, and passed wonderingly 
through the long line of tents, this notion vanished entirely, 
and instead of being in a fair, I found myself in a very 
village of canvas. An hour's stroll showed me that this village 
was a town. The early Australian gold-diggers had their 
canvas town ; and here we had ours, within a twenty minutes' 
run from London. Canvas Town, by all means ! for in what 
town could you find more completeness, or in what town 
would you require more than is here to your hand ? For in 
the course of my survey I have lighted upon a newspaper- 
office ( Volunteer Service Gazette), a police-station, a post- 
office with the hours of the arrival and despatch of mails duly 
placarded outside, a telegraph-office with temporary wires 
communicating with — everywhere, whence you could send 
the name of the winner of the Queen's Prize to your friend 
Ryot in the indigo trade at Suez, or utterly depress Sneesh 
of M'Mull, yachting off Malta, with the tidings that the 
Scotch were beaten in the International Match ; many taverns 
and restaurants ; many gunsmiths' and shops (tents) for 
kindred matters ; a club, where four copies of The Times are 
to be found, with other journals in proportion, and from 
which issuing the sound of a grand piano and a musical voice, 
proved that a great step in advance had been made in club 
matters, and that lady members were admitted. Farther on, 
here and there, I found public boards whereon printed 
matters affecting the common weal might be — and were — 
read ; " Lost" and "Found" (rare the latter) notices, shoot- 
ing-scores for great prizes, and other documents, very like 
the inscriptions on pounds and such-like country-town institu- 
tions. I am not much of a reckoner in such matters, but 


from my observation I should imagine that Canvas Town 
covers many acres ; it is duly fenced-off from the outlying 
grounds, and it has streets and a square regularly arranged. 
In what might be called the market-place, at the back of what 
I choose to consider the town-hall (which, to vulgar minds, is 
the " Grand Stand "), I find the public clock, a monster 
Bennet, and a little farther off the public thermometer, which 
tells you everything scientific which you cannot possibly want 
to know, and which, while being, I understand, excessively 
useful to the erudite, is so exact and so complicated, that 
even my very cursory inspection of it sends me away 
headachy and discomfited. 

The whole of this city, which teems with an ever-busy, 
running, pushing, shouting, gun-carrying, band-playing, red, 
green, gray, and brown population, is under canvas, save in 
a few instances where canvas is supplemented by wood. 
Far and away, right and left, stretch the long lines of tents, 
looking somewhat ghostly, even in the bright afternoon sun, 
and suggesting a very spectral appearance at night. The 
tents are of two shapes — some like Brobdingnagian dishes of 
blancmange, others like inverted monster pegtops without 
the pegs. Strolling on, I come upon a little oasis of painted 
brick, a small house belonging to the miller, whose mill 
looks like a huge genie with arms outspread, protecting the 
phantom-village he has called into existence — a little house 
which seemed quite ashamed of its conventional appearance, 
and had done its best to hide it by having tents in its 
garden and right up to its very doorstep ; and as I skirt the 
garden I become aware of something couchant in the grass 
— something which I imagine at first to be a snake, but 
which turns out to be nothing more than a harmless police- 
man off duty, who is lying supine on his back looking up at 
the sky, rural, happy, contemplative — as though there were 
no such things as bad " beats " or Irish navvies with 
homicidal tendencies. Recalled to sublunary matters by 


my approach, he sits up and gives me good-day ; and sitting 
down beside him, I enter into conversation, find him a very 
pleasant fellow, and learn from him, amongst other things, 
that Canvas Town has a place for public worship, divine 
service being performed on Sunday in the Grand Stand, to 
a large and attentive congregation, and a school — where, 
however, the " instructors " are, to a man, from Hythe. 

On leaving my policeman, I strayed pleasantly into the 
arms of some of my old companions the Grimgribber Rifles, 
and who received me with the greatest cordiality. From 
them I learnt that the most interesting feature in Wimbledon 
life was the camp-fire and its gathering, which was decidedly 
a thing to be seen. It sounded well — a camp-fire, with 
plenty of punch, and singing, and ladies' company, to be 
preceded by a dinner with my old corps, and to be con- 
cluded with a dog-cart drive to London — so I agreed to- 
stop ; and very glad I am I determined on this arrange- 
ment, for the camp-fire was the end which crowned the 
day's work, and crowned it royally. 

After a capital dinner, we moved out about nine o'clock 
to the " meeting," which was held in a large open space, 
a circle, surrounded by a rising mound, forming a perfectly 
natural amphitheatre. In the middle of the circle blazed 
a large fire of dried heather; on the mound — some on 
chairs (ladies these mostly), some couchant at full length, 
some squatting on their hams like Indians at a council-fire 
— sat a motley assemblage, composed of volunteers in all 
uniforms and from all counties, natives of Wimbledon, 
neither pure nor simple, gaping people from town, and 
people from the neighbourhood : the ladies muffled in 
pretty capes and fantastic hoods and ravishing yachting- 
jackets ; the gentlemen in that stern simplicity of white 
neckcloth and black everything else, which gives such pictu- 
resque dignity to the dining Briton. Nor was Scotland 
Yard without its representatives. Not possessing the 


advantages enjoyed by caricaturists, I have never seen a 
policeman at supper in my kitchen, and consequently have 
never been a spectator of that hilarity to which the " force " 
abandons itself when it is off duty. Certainly, at Wimbledon 
the police never entirely forgot that they were not as other 
men ; they smiled, they spoke, they sang ; but I imagine 
the singer only let out his stock by one hole to suffer his 
high C to have scope, and that in no moment of delight 
did any one of them cease to give an occasional slap at his 
coat-tails, to assure himself that his truncheon had not been 
purloined. But it was very jolly. When we arrived (and 
we had scented the burning heather and the tobacco a 
quarter of a mile off), Lord Bowling was just finishing a 
comic song, which, so far as I could make out, was about 
some transaction in which a Jew and some poached eggs 
were equally implicated ; and when the roar of applause 
which followed the termination died away, Lord Echo, who 
was apparently the president of the evening, called upon 
" -^ 395 >" an d that "vigilant officer," as, no doubt, he has 
been often described in print, set to work with a will, and 
piped us a sentimental ditty with a good voice and much 
real feeling. While he sang I looked round me in wonder. 
Rembrandtish, or rather more after the wild dash of Salvator 
Rosa, was the scene : in front the fitful glare of the fire 
lighting up now, leaving in dusk then, uniforms of various 
sombre hues, relieved here and there with a sharp bit of 
scarlet stocking, the top of which, surrounded by the dark 
knickerbocker, glowed like a fire in a grate ; incandescent 
tips of cigars dotting the black background, illumined now 
and then in a little space by a vesuvian match ; farther still, 
the long, weird, gaunt common, stunted, blank, and dreary, 
with a ghostly fringe of waning spectral tents. This was a 
quiet night. " Not one of our great meetings," said a 
Victoria Rifle to me ; and yet there must have been between 
three and four hundred people present. Close by me is a 



family party, evidently from one of the houses hard by f 
consisting of papa, bland and full of port-wine ; mamma, 
half-sedate, half-anxious ; two noble sons of sixteen and 
fifteen, braving papa in the matter of tobacco, and entirely 
absorbed therein; some very pretty daughters and dining 
friends. As Policeman A 395 warbles forth his ditty, one 
pretty daughter (the auburn-haired daughter) and one dining 
friend (with the shaved face and the heavy Austrian 
moustache) want "to see better" — happy A 395, to be the 
attraction of so much curiosity ! — so they gradually edge 
off until they are quite by themselves, and then they no 
doubt see admirably, for the gentleman looks down at the 
lady, and the lady looks down at the turf and draws figures 
on it with her parasol. Never mind, A 395 ; you are not 
the first person by a good many who has stood innocent 
godfather to this kind of business ; and you quiver so 
nicely and make such a prolonged shake on the last note of 
your song, that you deserve all the applause and the glass 
of punch bestowed on you, as you make a stiff bow and 

Who next, my Lord Echo ? Who next ? Who but 
Harrison ? And so soon as the name is heard, the welkin 
(what is the welkin ? you don't know ! I don't ! but it's a 
capital phrase), the welkin rings with shouts of delight. A 
prime favourite, Harrison, evidently. Doubtless a buffo- 
singer, short, fat, broad, genial, and jolly, as all comic men 
should be. No ! Harrison is a slim handsome fellow of 
middle height, with a bright eye, a mellow voice, and a 
lithe agile figure. " Capital fellow," says the man of the 
Victorias next to me ; " /ranendous favourite here ; sings 
like a lark, talks like a book, and starts next week to join 
his regiment in India." Bravo, Harrison ! Well sung, my 
young friend ! After Harrison has sung his song, he give's 
us (being loudly encored) an imitation of a "stump oration," 
which, truth to tell, is a dull affair. At its conclusion, to 


our astonishment. Lord Echo calls upon General M "Mortar 
for a song. We think it is a joke, and have no idea that 
the gallant Inspector is among us. But lo ! like the ghost 
of Banquo, the well-known form of General M 'Mortar rises 
amidst the smoke, and the well-known voice commences. 
Not a song ! no. a speech ! The old story of volunteers 
being descended from those old English bowmen (who 
have done such enormous service to writers and speakers 
on this matter\ and oi pluck, and valour, and of their being 
called upon to resist an enemy ; and, in fact, a choice 
selection from the speeches which the good general has 
delivered at inspections for the last three years. This is a 
camper ' Men begin to scuhie off; ladies shiver and clasp 
their cloaks tighter round them : the evening is evidently 
finished — thanks to General M 'Mortar. 

Off we go then, making towards the road as best we 
may : one minutes halt at the Grimgribber tent, for what is 
known as a " nip : " and then home in my friend's dog-cart, 
with a very happy reminiscence of the day's loitering and 
the nigh: s camp-fire. 

L 2 



In a novel by M. Paul de Kock, it is stated that the 
principal promenades of the English people take place in 
cemeteries, which are congenial places of resort to a nation 
suffering from the spleen. So far as I, an unit in the nation, 
am concerned, the French author's assertion is to some 
extent correct. I do not exactly know what the spleen is, 
and consequently I may be suffering from it unconsciously ; 
but, whatever may be the motive power, I have a taste for 
wandering in churchyards, and looking at those houses 
which the gravemaker builds, and which " last till dooms- 
day." Both in Germany and in England there is a certain 
due sense of solemnity about the churchyard ; walking in 
them, one feels with the man of Uz, that " there the wicked 
cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest. There 
the prisoners rest together ; they hear not the voice of the 
oppressor. The small and great are there, and the servant 
is free from his master." They are essentially places for 
meditation and reflection, and as an antidote against an 
overweening sense of worldliness, I would back an after- 
noon spent in one of certain churchyards which I know — 
say, haphazard, Hendon, Stoke-Pogis, Stratford-on-Avon — 
against most of the trenchant homilies I have listened to. 
As old Thoresby the antiquarian says : " One serious walk 



over a churchyard might make a man mortified to the world, 
to consider how many he treads upon who once lived in 
fashion and repute, but are now quite forgot. Imagine you 
saw your bones tumbled out of your graves as they are like 
shortly to be, and men handling your skulls, and inquiring : 
' Whose is this ?' Tell me of what account will the world 
be then ? " 

Of the English cemetery, however, I knew nothing, 
until, on a blazing July afternoon, I set out for Kensal 

Just as a town has" its suburbs, an army its pioneers, and 
a village its outskirts, so the great cemetery of Kensal Green 
(dedicated appropriately enough to All Souls) makes its 
vicinity felt some time before it is actually in sight. Once 
past the turnpike on the road, though yet a good half-mile 
from the nearest entrance, you are struck with certain signs 
and tokens which speak significantly of the region. The 
building to the right, just by the turn in the road, is an 
establishment for the sale of tombstones, and that mono- 
tonous grinding sound, which so grates on the ear, is 
occasioned by the polishing or the smoothing of the surface 
of a huge slab, destined to be sacred to the memory of some 
person unknown, who is not impossibly at this moment 
alive and well. As you trudge along, and before you have 
done speculating how often the muddy canal to your left 
has been compared to the Styx, and whether a certain yard 
or field, also on the left, has been made a receptacle for 
carts and waggons which had departed this life, solely 
because of its locality ; and, if not, why so many broken-up 
vehicles are there congregated, you come to more tombstone 
establishments. Statuary and mason are inscribed after the 
dealers' names on the fagade, but this is a mere euphuistic 
fencing with the subject. The only statuary sold is for the 
graveyard ; the only masonry dealt in is for the crypt or 
mausoleum. Past the snug-looking Plough Inn, at the old- 


fashioned entrance to which stands an empty hearse, and at 
the windows whereof several professional gentlemen, arrayed 
in solemn black, are indulging in bibulous refreshment ; past 
an elaborate monument on which mortuary emblems are 
crowded in great profusion — an hour-glass surmounting two 
dead lions, and a couple of weeping females supporting an 
affecting tablet, whereon a trade advertisement is inscribed ; 
past several shops where even the pictorial literature assumes 
a mournful character, the nearest approach to humour 
being a "ladder of matrimony," which commences with 
" hope," and ends in " despair," such end being typified by 
the cheerful emblem of a foundering ship ; past the shop- 
window full of white and yellow immortelles, which look 
like so many wedding-rings from the fingers of departed 
Brobdingnagians ; and, duly armed with a courteous letter 
from the secretary of the company, I present myself through 
the arched entrance to the cemetery. 

Having conferred with the pleasant-looking rubicund 
gatekeeper, an evidently cheerful philosopher, who supplies 
me with an Illustrated Guide to Kensal Green Cemetery, 
and requests me to wait until the clerk is disengaged, I stroll 
into the garden and sit down. A Frenchman, with wife and 
family, are chattering on the adjoining seat, eating bon-bons, 
and gazing round the cemetery with a critical air, as com- 
paring it with cemeteries of their own land. It is some time 
before I see any other visitors, and it may be worth stating 
that during the whole time I was in the cemetery (some 
hours) I met with only one person in mourning; a widow, 
whose scarlet petticoat, I may be excused for mentioning, 
contrasted gracefully with her looped-up black dress, making 
a tasteful setting to a remarkably neat pair of feet. Three 
or four damsels from the neighbourhood, a tender couple 
apparently on the first round of the ladder of matrimony 
aforesaid, a couple of carriages with provincial occupants, and 
one or two people who were selecting ground, were, besides 


the gardeners and servants employed by the company, my 
only fellow-explorers on the day I devoted to the city of the 
dead. " The clerk " was not, as I hastily concluded, a clerk 
of the works, a sort of overseer who looked after the persons 
employed, and kept the books of the company, but the severe 
ecclesiastical official who reads the responses, and says 
"Amen!" after the clergyman. His engagement was of 
■course a funeral, or, as he termed it, when politely apo- 
logising for having kept me waiting, " an interment." Both 
these words mean the same thing, of course ; but as I have 
remarked that undertakers invariably use the latter, I have 
long inferred that its enunciation is, in some inexplicable 
way, considered to be more palatable to survivors. Be this 
as it may, an interment had detained the clerk, whose name 
I have not the pleasure of knowing, but whom I mentally 
christened Mr. Dawe. He was a little man, dressed in black, 
-with the conventional white tie, and his daily occupation had 
left its trace both upon his bearing and his voice. The one 
■was sympathetic, and the other soft, and his general de- 
meanour was that of sparing your feelings. Both communi- 
cative and intelligent, he never wearied, either of ministering 
to my inquisitiveness, or accompanying me on my rounds, 
but he was consistent throughout, and furnished me with 
statistics in a manner which impressively said all flesh is 
grass. The conservatory to the right, Mr. Dawe informs me, 
has only been in existence this year, and was started by the 
cemetery company, to supply an increasing demand for 
flowers on graves : a demand which the adjacent nursery 
gardeners were not always able to meet. Would I like to 
see the inside of it? 

Not greatly different from other buildings of the same 
■character ; flowers, blooming in their several pots, and the 
usual paraphernalia of a greenhouse lying about. Each of 
these plants is destined to be transferred to a grave ; but as 
■the end for which they are tended and nurtured is their 


only speciality, we leave the greenhouse, and proceed up 
the centre road. Those wooden " sleepers " reared against 
the wall are of seasoned wood, and are used during the 
formation of earthworks and in building brick graves. On 
our way to the chapel, disturbed neither by the constant 
whizzing past of trains on the divers lines adjacent, nor 
by the incessant " Crack, crack ! " from the riflemen at prac- 
tice on Wormwood Scrubs, Mr. Dawe informs me that the 
cemetery is vested in a joint-stock company of proprietors; 
that it has been in existence more than thirty years ; and 
that from fifty to sixty thousand persons are interred herein. 
This he considers a low estimate, as there are some eighteen 
thousand graves, and an average of three or four bodies in 
each. How many burials does he consider the rule per 
week ? Perhaps seven a day in summer, and eight in 
winter; he has known as many as twelve in one winter's 
day, but that was exceptional. No, this cemetery never 
inters on Sundays. It used to do so formerly, but has given 
the practice up for years; the Roman Catholic one adjoining 
it to the west does, and also, he believes, the one at Wil- 
lesden; and if I should ever attend the chapel of Lock 
Hospital, and hear of, or see, irreverent burial processions 
passing on the road, perhaps I will remember that they are 
not coming here, but to one of the two grounds adjacent. 

What is the size of the cemetery? Well, between 
seventy and eighty acres. Forty-seven acres are at present 
in actual use, but thirty additional acres have been recently 
consecrated, the party-wall having just been taken down ; 
and workmen are now employed in making roads and laying 
out the ground. A portion of the original forty-seven acres 
is unconsecrated, and appropriated to dissenters. This 
portion has its separate chapel and catacombs ; and a dis- 
senting minister, provided by the company, attends the 
funerals therein. Any other minister preferred by the 
friends of the deceased is permitted to officiate, and, if 


desired, the body may be consigned to earth without any 
ceremony. Perhaps I have read in the papers of the Indian 
princess brought here the other day, and whose remains 
some of her Sikh servants wished to have burnt ? Well, 
this was a case in point. The coffin was placed in the 
dissenters' catacomb, and, though a speech was delivered 
which Mr. Uawe, though not speaking the Sikh tongue, 
believes to have been on the virtues of the deceased, the 
burial is described in the company's registry-book by the 
words " no ceremony." It was a large funeral, with many 
carriages. No, not the largest he had seen ; perhaps one 
of them ; but then he had only been here a few months, 
and it is in place of the superintendent, who is away, that 
he is acting as my guide. The most numerously-attended 
interment coming under his own observation was that of the 
secretary to the Young Men's Christian Association; and 
the next that of Sir Cresswell Cresswell, who lies under the 
plain slab before us. There has not been time to procure a 
monument, explains Mr. Dawe ; but you will be interested 
to learn, sir, that the poor gentleman came up here and 
selected that bit of ground for himself, not ten days before 
he met with the accident from the effects of which he died. 
What constitutes a dissenter in the eyes of the company ? 
Well, nobody can be buried in consecrated ground unless 
the "Committal Service" is read by a clergyman of the 
Church of England. That is the only stipulation, and 
other rites may be, and sometimes are, previously performed 
elsewhere. The company has nothing to do with that : 
only, if the Church Service be objected to, the burial must 
be in the dissenters' or unconsecrated portion of the 
cemetery. Are there any quaint out-of-the-way epitaphs or 
inscriptions on any of the tombs ? No, Mr. Dawe does not 
know of one. You see, nothing can be inscribed upon any 
tomb until it has been submitted to, and approved by, a 
sub-committee of the directors, which meets every month ; 


and any ludicrous or unseemly proposition would be at 
once refused. Does he know of many instances in which it 
has been fruitlessly attempted to put questionable inscrip- 
tions ? Of none ; and he believes that an out-of-the-way 
country churchyard might be found which contains more of 
these curiosities of bad taste than have ever been 'even 
" tried on " since the formation of the cemetery. This 
Mr. Dawe attributes to the spread of education, and to the 
cemetery being devoted principally to the well-to-do classes. 
Nothing would have tempted me to shake a standard of 
taste shared in by so many people besides this worthy clerk ; 
so, agreeing that the possession of money invariably elevates 
the mind and purifies the heart, I asked in all reverence 
which was considered the most costly tomb in the grounds ? 
I was taken to a sort of temple in gray marble, the pecu- 
liarity of which is, as I was begged to observe, that on entry 
you go up a step instead of down one, and the graceful 
shape and the polished sides of which are decidedly hand- 
some and a little heathenish. 

This, I was told, cost some three thousand pounds, and 
I uncovered my head accordingly. The one nearly opposite, 
not yet finished, would come to about two thousand pounds ; 
while the foundations just laid down were for a vault to hold 
twelve people, and to cost more than a thousand pounds. 
What is the bricked pit in the centre for — the coffins ? Oh 
dear no ! A grating would be placed over that, and would 
form the flooring of the vault, while the coffins would be 
ranged round the walls at the sides. Did I observe the 
thickness of the masonry ? Well, this pit was designed to 
receive the ashes of the people interred, if— say a thousand 
years hence — these walls should crumble and decay. It 
was being built by a gentleman for himself and family, who, 
when in town, takes the deepest interest in the work, 
coming here every day to see how the building progresses. 
No time to meditate upon the strangeness of this idiosyn- 



crasy, for we have arrived at the chapel, and Mr. Dawe 
hands me over to another official, while he transacts some 
business with a fat and jolly-looking couple who " want to 
look at a bit of ground." Again, as when in the conserva- 
tory, a singular feeling arises as to the speciality of the 
building. As in every other instance flowers are associated 
with joy and life, so in every other sacred edifice bridals 
and christenings, with their attendant prayers, and hopes 
and fears, are as germane as the last rites to the dead. But 
there is no altar here wherefrom to pronounce the marriage 
blessing, no font round which parents and friends have 
clustered, and the double row of seats at each side have 
been used by mourners, professed or real, but by mourners 
only. It needs no guide to explain the use of the black 
trestles in the centre of the building. Some thousands of 
coffins have probably rested on them, though they are only 
used for the burials in the grounds. For the coffins de- 
posited in the catacombs below, these trestles are not 
required. They are placed on a hydraulic press, and lowered 
through the floor by machinery, as the clergyman reads the 

We go down by a stone staircase, and I am speedily in 
the centre of a wide avenue, out of which branch other 
avenues; and on stone shelves on each side of these rest 
coffins. This is Catacomb B. Catacomb A is away from 
the chapel, and has long been filled. This present cata- 
comb has room for five thousand bodies, and my companion 
(who has been custodian of the vaults for the last thirty 
years) considers it about half full. I am therefore in a 
village below ground, of some two thousand five hundred 
•dead inhabitants, and I can (not without reproaching myself 
for the incongruity) compare it to nothing but a huge wine- 
cellar. The empty vaults are precisely like large bins, and 
were it not for the constant gleams of daylight from the 
numerous ventilating shafts, my guide with his candle would 


seem to be one of those astute cellarmen who invariably 
appear to return from the darkest corners with a choicer 
and a choicer wine. The never altogether absent daylight 
destroys this illusion, and I proceed to examine the coffins 
around me. They are, as a rule, each in a separate com- 
partment, some walled up with stone, others having an iron 
gate and lock and key, others with small windows in the 
stone ; others, again, are on a sort of public shelf on the 
top. The private vaults are fitted up, some with iron bars 
for the coffins to rest on, others with open shelves, so that 
their entire length can be seen. The price of a whole 
vault, holding twenty coffins, is, I learn, one hundred and 
ninety-nine pounds ; of one private compartment, fourteen 
pounds ; the cost of interment in a public vault is four 
guineas ; each of these sums being exclusive of burial fees, 
and an increased rate of charges being demanded when the 
coffin is of extra size. Rather oppressed with the grim 
regularity with which every one of these arrangements is 
systematised, I am not sorry to ascend the stairs, and ask 
my companion how he would find a particular coffin buried 
say twenty years before. By its number — and he shows me 
a little book wherein all these matters are methodically set 
down, and in which, in case of burials out of doors, under 
the head of " remarks " — I find the locality of each grave 
thus described: "Fifteen feet west of Tompkins;" or, 
" three feet south of Jones," as the case may be. " We 
have so many of the same name," exclaims the catacomb 
keeper, " that we should never find them unless the whole 
place were planned out into squares and numbers." Here 
Mr. Dawe joins us, and I ask to be taken to the dissenters' 
catacomb, that I may see for myself the last resting-place 
of the poor woman whose ashes have been squabbled over, 
and written on by Sikh and Christian. On the way, I 
inquire how many men are employed at the cemetery ? 
Mr. Dawe has difficulty in saying, as so many labourers are 


occasionally employed. Night watchman ? Oh yes, there 
is a night watchman, who is armed with a gun, which he 
fires every night at ten. He is accompanied by a faithful 
dog, and patrols the cemetery the whole of the night. No, 
lie has no particular beat. Formerly, he had to be at the 
entrance to each catacomb (they are situated at the two 
extremities of the grounds) at stated hours during the night, 
and " tell-tales " were provided, to test his punctuality, but 
these have not been used for many years. The directors 
having perfect confidence in their servant, think it better 
that he should be left free, than by compelling him to be at 
one place at a particular time, enable possible depredators 
to make their calculations accordingly. 

No, he is not aware of any attempt ever having been 
made to rob the cemetery. It is thoroughly known that an 
armed man patrols throughout the night, and it is not 
known where he is likely to be. The lead on the roof of 
the catacombs and chapels is of many hundred pounds' 
value, and the marble of many of the statues and tombs is 
very costly ; but these things are heavy to move, and Mr. 
Dawe thinks the existing arrangements a sufficient protection 
against robbery. When the wall was being taken down, and 
the recently consecrated thirty acres added, two extra men 
were employed as sentries to guard that point, but it is no 
longer a weak one, and the original watchman is once more 
held to be sufficient. There are two gate-keepers, several 
gardeners, a messenger, who takes a duplicate " sexton's 
book " and other papers to the London office every day, and 
others. Two of the gardeners and this messenger are 
sworn constables, and on Sundays assume a policeman's 
dress and keep order among the visitors. The graves are 
not dug by servants of the company, but by contract with 
one of the tombstone-makers, whose house I passed out- 
side. This end of the centre walk is not occupied near the 
gravel, because it is only let on the condition of the lessee 


spending not less than from two to three hundred pounds 
on a monument, and such people have hitherto preferred 
to be at the end nearest the chapel. The " monumental 
chambers " above the catacombs are devoted to tablets 
containing the names and descriptions of many of the 
people buried below. Yes, there is an extra charge of a 
guinea a foot for all space thus occupied. (As we walk 
their length, I discern more than one piece of mortuary 
work having a cramped look, as if the statuary had been 
restricted in his scope. Again I had to reproach myself 
for an incongruous simile, but the " guinea a foot " and the 
closely-covered walls reminded me strangely of advertise- 
ment charges, and of the bill-stickers' hoardings which 
deface our streets.) I stoop to look for the inscription on 
an elaborate piece of sculpture occupying a prominent 
position at one end of the chamber, and am told it is not 
put there in memory of anyone. " Ordered by a lady, sir, 
to commemorate the death of a male relative, but she died 
before it was finished, and her heirs declining to take it, it 
was thrown on the sculptor's hands, and as he happened 
to be one of our directors, he had it brought here " (perhaps 
as a not unlikely place to attract a purchaser), " and now 
Zie's dead ; so here it's likely to remain." On admiring the 
foliage in the grounds, I am told that all trees are, from 
their rain-droppings, injurious to tombs, and that the 
weeping willow is the most detrimental of all ; but for this,, 
there would be many more planted ; but, notwithstanding 
this drawback, many people like the vicinity of the last- 
named tree. What is that little bed of fine soil, destitute 
of shrub or plant, and decked out with empty cups and 
saucers, irrelevant and misplaced ? A grave. The cups are 
for choice flowers, the bed is for rare plants ; but the heirs 
of its occupier are abroad, so it remains bald and shabby- 
looking, without even its natural covering of turf. Such 
cases are not uncommon, says Mr. Dawe : all melancholy 


enthusiasm at the funeral ; flowers ordered and the company 
engaged to keep them in order, at the regulation charge of 
a guinea a year. Two years generally find enthusiasm 
cooled down, and the guinea discontinued. For ten guineas 
the company undertake to keep up the flowers for ever ; 
and I agree with Mr. Dawe, that, the weakness of human 
nature considered, this is the best plan. The price for 
merely turfing is half-a-crown a year, or four guineas in 
perpetuity : the contract for flowers being only ten times 
the annual subscription, that for turf more than thirty times. 
This, however, is explained by the fact that flowers add to 
the general beauty of the cemetery, and that it is the interest 
of the directors, even at a slight pecuniary sacrifice, ta 
encourage their growth. 

But here are the dissenters' chapel and catacombs. 
Both somewhat dingier and smaller than the other, but 
managed on a precisely similar plan. And down here, in a 
coffin covered with white velvet, and studded with brass 
nails, rests the Indian dancing-woman, whose strong will and 
bitter enmity toward England caused Lord Dalhousie to say 
of her, when in exile, that she was the only person our 
government need fear. I place my hand on the coffin, and 
holding the candle obliquely see a large gilt plate, whereon 
her name and titles are engraved. And now, a hasty visit 
to the office of the company at the gateway ; a glance through 
the registry-book ; another at the sexton's books — thirty-five 
fat volumes, with the particulars of every burial since the 
establishment of the company ; another at the huge brass- 
bound heap, whereon the entire burial-ground is to be found 
in sectional divisions, each name being written in ; and I say 
good-bye to Mr. Dawe. 



Don't talk to me about November ! Don't point with 
triumphant finger to your Letts's Diary, or hunt out that 
Almanac which the never-dying Francis Moore, Physician, 
still persists in producing in alternate black and red letter, 
and which lie calls Vox Stellaricm ! They may make this 
present month November, if they like; it comes after 
October and precedes December, I know ; but I am not to 
be put down by mere book-learning and meteorological sta- 
tistics. I go-by the weather, and I see no fog, no Scotch 
mist, no heavy atmosphere and incessant rain, which, as a 
Briton, I have a right to expect ; produce for me, if you 
please, that pea-soup cloud, which, descending on earth, 
immediately gives rise to an epidemic of " spleen," and 
causes men to attach themselves to lamp-posts, and hurl 
themselves from bridges ! I defy you. I decline to accept 
your — even to my ignorant mind — unscientific explanation 
of there being "a peg out " in the harmony of the seasons, 
or that " something has slipped " in the grand mechanism ; 
but I am with you in your avowal that an April morning has 
accidentally " turned up" in the middle of the dreary autumn, 
and very much regret that " a previous engagement," to use 
the language of society's vortex, prevents my enjoying it as 
I should wish. 


I ought to stop here in my garden for at least an hour 
more on this Sunday morning, lolling about, and patting my 
dog's big head, and caressing the cold nose which he 
thrusts into my hand as he walks gravely by my side, and 
gazing vacantly but with great delight over the broad green 
meadows and the purple-tinted cultivated land ; over the 
fertile pastures and the big sweeping gardens, so trimly 
kept ; over the red-roofed houses and the well-thatched 
ricks, and the tiny threads of the silver Brent, and the 
whole glorious landscape that lies between me and Harrow 
Church far away on the horizon. The church-bells are 
silent yet, and there is not one sound to break the stillness. 
Looking over the hedge (which within the last few days has 
become very bare and ragged, and which has concentrated 
all its few remaining leaves on one spot, like an elderly 
gentleman conscious of baldness), I see the farm-horses 
keeping holiday by blundering gravely over their pasture- 
field, only diversifying their never-wearying amusement of 
eating by an occasional grave and decorous roll upon their 
backs, from which they arise with a very astonished look 
around, and an apparent consciousness of having been be- 
trayed into a temporary abnegation of dignity ; I see the ducks 
all gathered together in a cluster at one corner of the pond in 
a farm-yard, and the geese, who immediately take affront at 
Xero's appearance, and hiss, like a theatrical manager's 
friends who have come in with orders and don't get front 
places ; and — woe is me ! — crossing the edge of the farm- 
yard, by the footpath in the Fair Meadow, I see the vicar of 
the parish, who gives me a cheery " Good morning," and 
pointing towards the church, says he shall see me presently. 
Which statement is, though my excellent friend doesn't 
know it, the reverse of truth ! He will not see me presently ! 
To-day, the square pew with the red-covered seats, and the 
hassocks which want binding, and always go off like dusty 
fireworks whenever they are touched, will not contain me. 



To-day, the charity children who sit behind us will sniff un- 
scared by my occasional remonstrative glances ; to-day, the 
clerk will have it all his own way with the responses, and 
the vicar will miss his churchwarden ; for, as I have before 
remarked, I have a previous engagement, and as I have not 
before remarked, I am going to make a trial of Jewry. 

For the first time for many years, but not for the first 
time in my life. My first trial of Jewry was, if I mistake 
not, in connection with a pressing call for money on my 
part, and the production of a stamped piece of paper on 
the part of Jewry, Ten pounds was the sum required ; but 
after Jewry — sitting in his own private house in Burton 
Crescent — had read the letter of introduction which I pre- 
sented to him (and which had been given me by Uptree, of 
the Tin-tax Office), and had made me sign the stamped 
paper acknowledging myself his debtor for twelve pounds, 
"value received," he proceeded to explain that he had only 
a five-pound note in the house. Aghast at this information, 
I asked him what I was to do. He frankly confessed he 
did not know; at length, smitten with a sudden idea, he 
pointed to an oil-painting of a Spanish boy, which stood 
against the wall, and told me I might " take the Murillo." 
I represented to Jewry that my want was money, not 
Murillos ; upon which he suggested the pledging of the 
Murillo for five pounds. " Dicks '11 do it for you in a 
minute," Jewry said. " Here, Dicks !" And Dicks pre- 
senting himself, in the shape of a very evil-looking clerk, 
was told to take " that round the corner," and to bring five 
pounds back. Dicks returned in three minutes without the 
Murillo, and with three pounds, which was all, he said, he 
could get for it. As Jewry handed me the money, he said : 
" About the ticket now ? That's no use to you ! You'll 
never take the picture out; and if you did, you wouldn't 
know what to do with it ! Come ; I'll give you ten 
shillings for the ticket!" And he did; and eight pounds 


ten was all I ever got for my twelve-pound bill, which I had 
to pay at the end of the month. 

But the trial of Jewry which I am now about to make is 
of a different kind. It involves my leaving behind me my 
watch and my purse, my putting on an unobtrusive garb 
and a wide-awake hat, my stealing out at the back gate so 
as to be unobserved by the servants, and my making the 
best of my way to an adjacent railway station. There, after 
a minute's interval, I am picked up by a train all blossom- 
ing with male and female specimens of " Sunday out," and, 
after making a circuitous journey, calling at Kentish Town 
and Hampstead Heath, dallying in that Utopia the Camden 
Road, flitting from Kingsland to Hackney, glancing at 
Victoria Park, and getting a glimpse of distant masts at 
Stepney, I am landed at Fenchurch Street, scud rapidly 
down Billiter Street and St. Mary Axe, and, opposite 
Bishopsgate Church, into which are crowding the denizens 
of the neighbourhood, find my intended companions 
awaiting my arrival. Two in number are my companions ; 
one, Oppenhardt, my friend, whose innate patrician feelings 
were outraged by having allowed himself to come east 
of Temple Bar, and who was standing, with an acute 
expression of hurt dignity in every feature, contemplating 
the back of Inspector Wells, who was to be our guide in the 
trial of Jewry which we were about to make. As I crossed 
the road, I looked at those two men, and mused, for 
twenty seconds by the clock, upon the falsity of appearances. 
There was Oppenhardt — whose paternal grandfather was, I 
believe, a worthy German sugar-baker at Hamburg — looking, 
with his blue greatcoat, and his black beard, and his per- 
petual expansion of nostril, like a peer of the realm at the 
very least ; and there was Inspector Wells, a pallid round- 
faced man, with a light fringe of whisker, and a sleepy 
boiled eye, and a stout idle figure ; and yet I believe the 
Custom House possesses no clerk having a more acute 

M 2 


knowledge of drawback and rebate, of allowances and 
landing dues, than Oppenhardt ; nor has the City of 
London Police an officer so sharp and pains-taking, so 
unweary and intelligent, as Inspector Wells. With very 
few words I make my companions known to each other; 
and then, obedient to the inspector's suggestion, we cross 
the road and prepare for our plunge. " It's going with the 
stream, gentlemen," says our guide, " and taking the rough 
with the smooth. You've brought nothing of any value with 
you, I suppose ? Handkerchiefs in an inside pocket, if you 
please! You'll soon see why ! " " Do they know you, Wells ?" 
I asked. " Some of 'em, sir ; but not all. I thought of 
putting on my uniform coat, but then they'd made way, 
and you'd have seen the place under rather a false view, 
perhaps ! It's better we should rough it with the rest." 

As he finished his sentence, we turned short round to 
the right, up a street called Sandys Row, and were in the 
thick of it. Jewry, which I have come to make trial of, lies 
in the heart of the city of London, in the corner of the 
angle made by Bishopsgate Street and Houndsditch. In 
the midst of it stands a huge block of building, for the most 
part windowless, but crane-bearing, and having odd trap- 
doors, some near the roof, some near the basement, for the 
swallowing in or giving out of goods. For this is where the 
■defunct company which had its head-quarters in the Street 
of the Hall of Lead — the company which had an army and 
a navy of its own, and ruled kings and princes, but which 
has now dwindled down into a mere appanage of Downing 
Street, and has shrunk into a " board " — used in the old 
days to store the costly silks which had been brought from 
its dominions in the far Ind. This hideous building was 
then filled with the rarest specimens of Eastern handicraft 
and looked then just as it looks now, when, from its 
appearance, you would guess that turmeric, or sago, or 
starch, or anything equally commonplace, was its contents. 


Round it seethes and bubbles Jewry, filling up the very 
narrow street, with very small strips of pavement on either 
side, and what ought to have been a way for vehicles, 
between them ; every bit of space, however, covered with 
mob — dirty, pushing, striving, fighting, high smelling, 
higgling, chaffering, vociferating, laughing mob. Shops on 
either side, so far as can be seen above mob's head ; tool- 
shops, files, saws, adzes, knives, chisels, hammers, tool- 
baskets, displayed in the open windows, whence the sashes 
have been removed for the better furtherance of trade ; 
doors open, sellers and buyers hot in altercation, spirited trade 
going on. Hatters', hosiers', tailors', boot-makers' shops, their 
proprietors forced by competition to leave the calm asylum 
of their counters, and to stand at their doors uttering whole- 
some incitement to the passers-by to become purchasers : 
not to say importuning them with familiar blandishments. 
For, in what should be the carriage-way is a whole tribe of 
peripatetic vendors of hats, hosiery, clothes, and boots, 
hook-nosed oleaginous gentry with ten pair of trousers over 
one arm and five coats over the other; with Brobdingnagian 
boots (some with the soles turned uppermost, showing a 
perfect armoury of nails), which are carried on a square 
piece of board, and which look harder than the board itself; 
a few hats ; an enormous number of cloth caps of all shapes 
and sizes— made, so Wells tells me, from the skirts or other- 
wise unworn parts of old coats. Jewry will stand any trial 
you like to make of her in the way of actual requirements, 
I'll warrant it. Are you in search of mental pabulum ? 
Here it is ! Trays full of literature of all kinds, gaudily- 
bound books of shilling lore, or tattered copies of the 
Hebrew Law. Engravings, coloured or plain? Here shall 
you see how Herr Jakobs in the Hoher Strasse, Berlin, has 
copied, or thinks he has copied, some old English prints of 
fox-hunting scenes ; and here shall you see the marvellous 
horses, and the more marvellous riders, and the more mar- 


vellous leaps which the German artist has probably evolved 
from the depths of his internal consciousness, as his country- 
man did the camel; here shall you see Abraham offering 
up Isaac ; the former in all the glory of the grand old Jewish 
type, dignified and bearded, than which , when good, there 
is scarcely anything better ; but Isaac a little too nosy, and 
rather too oily, and considerably too lippy, and, on the whole, 
too much like the young Jew-boy who just now tried to steal 
a bit of liver out of the frying-pan in which a quantity of it is 
hissing, and who so nearly received in his eye the point of 
the steel fork which the Jewish maiden, watching over it 
earnestly, prodded at that feature. For eating is by no means 
neglected in Jewry; in the glassless windows of many of the 
houses the frying-pans are hard at work, presided over by 
Jewry's daughters, bright-eyed, dark-skinned, nimble-fingered, 
shrill-tongued. Pleasant to look upon are Jewry's daughters, 
despite a certain oiliness, which is probably attributable to 
contact with the contents of the frying-pan. It is in the con- 
templation of Jewry's mammas that you begin to doubt -the 
beauty of the race ; for, when you behold Jewry's mammas 
in the flesh, you generally behold them in rather too much 
of it, and they have an objection to buttons, and hooks-and 
eyes, and other ligaments; a hatred of corsets and chemisettes, 
and other womanly neatnesses ; a tendency to bulge, and an 
aversion to soap and water — all of which peculiarities detract 
from their charms in the impartial eye (meaning mine). 

Liver and fried fish are the principal, but by no means 
the only, edible articles for sale ; through the crowd come 
wending men with glass dishes on their heads, containing 
long gelatinous-looking fruits. "Pickled cucumbers," says 
Wells, as they pass, "pickled cucumbers, never eat by any- 
body but Jews, and never seen elsewhere ; they're said to be 
reg'lar good eating, but I never heard tell of a Christian who 
tried one. But the Jews — Lor' bless you — they hold 'em in 
their fists, and bite away at 'em like boys do at lollipops !" 


Wells also tells me that pickles of every kind are in high 
favour in Jewry ; that the denizens thereof will eat pickles 
at any time, no matter whether onions, cauliflower, cabbage, 
or what not, and will drink the pickle-liquor "as you would 
a glass of sherry." I think I can understand this. I can 
imagine that a pickle must be, in some conditions, a fine 
setter up ! Say, at a bargain, for instance. How, just 
before asking your price, a fine stinging acrid pickle must 
sharpen your faculties, and clear your brain, and set your 
nerves, and string your persuasive powers ! How, if you be 
purchaser, it must lower your tone and your aspects of 
human life, and degrade the article in your views, and render 
you generally unpleasant and morose and disinclined to deal, 
and so eventually successful ! No wonder pickles are at a 
premium in Jewry. 

All this time we are slowly struggling through the crowd, 
which, never ceasing for an instant, surges round us, remind- 
ing one more of an illumination-night mob in its component 
parts than anything else. And it is curious to see how the 
itinerant vendors of goods, be they of what sort they may — 
whether sham jewellery, cheap music, pipes and cigars, 
bullfinches, boxes of dominoes, bird-whistles, or conjuring 
tricks — are whirled about in the great vortex of humanity ; 
now, in the midst of their " patter," caught upon a surging 
wave and carried away long past those whom they were but 
this moment in the act of addressing. So, we pass through 
Cutler Street and Harrow Alley, borne along with scarcely 
any motion of our own, the crowd behind us pushing, the 
crowd before us shoving ; and we, by dint of broad shoulders 
and tolerable height, making our way with occasional drift- 
ing into out-of-the-way courses, but always looked after by 
Inspector Wells. I don't suppose there is the smallest 
danger of our coming to grief, for indeed I never saw a 
better-behaved mob : thieves there are in scores, no doubt, 
from burly roughs with sunken eyes and massive jaws, sulkily 


elbowing their way through the mass, to " gonophs" and 
pickpockets of fourteen or fifteen, with their collarless 
tightly-tied neck-handkerchiefs, their greasy caps and "aggra- 
wator " curls — indeed, we have not been in the crowd two 
minutes, before Oppenhardt has the back pockets of his 
greatcoat turned inside out, and I felt myself carefully 
"sounded" all over by a pair of lightly-touching hands. 
But there is no ribaldry, no blackguardism, no expression of 
obnoxious opinion. One gentleman, indeed, wants to know 
" who those collared blokes is," in delicate allusion to our 
clean shirts ; but he is speedily silenced ; and one Jewish 
maiden, who, with much affection, addresses us as "dears," 
and advises us to "take care of our pockets," is sternly 
rebuked by an elderly matron, who says, " Let 'em alone : 
if they comes here, they must suffer." But, generally, Mob 
is thoroughly good-tempered. Mob like Oppenhardt very 
much, and make numerous inquiries as to what he'll take 
for his beard, where he lives when he is at home, whether 
he ain't from furrin parts, brother to the Princess Hallexandry, 
a Rooshan, etc. One young gentleman, with a potato-can, 
points to his fruit, and says, invitingly, " 'Ave a tightener, 
captin :" at which Oppenhardt is pleased. Mob is more 
familiar with me, as being humbler, and more akin to its own 
order : in one tremendous struggle, a lad puts his arms 
round me and cries out, "Here we are! All together, 

So, onward with the stream, catching occasional glimpses 
of Hebrew inscriptions against the walls, endless repetitions 
of a handbill issued by the Jewish Society for the Diffusion 
of Knowledge, and announcing a Sabbath lecture by 
Brother Abrahams over Brother Lazarus recently deceased, 
noticing here and there huge rolls of edible stuff hung up 
called " swoss," which is apparently divided by the thinnest 
line of religious demarcation from sausage-meat ; onward 
amidst constant cries of " Pockets, pockets, take care of 


your pockets ! " and occasional rushes, evidently for pocket- 
picking purposes, until we make our way to where the crowd 
becomes even denser, and our progress is slower and harder 
to light for, till at last, down a very greasy step, we make 
our entrance into the Clothes Exchange. This is a roofed 
building, filled round every side and in the centre with old- 
clothes stalls ; and here, piled up in wondrous confusion, 
lie hats, coats, boots, hobnailed shoes, satin ball-shoes, 
driving-coats, satin dresses, hoops, brocaded gowns, flannel 
jackets, fans, shirts, stockings with clocks, stockings with 
torn and darned feet, feathers, parasols, black-silk mantles, 
blue-kid boots, Belcher neckerchiefs, and lace ruffles. This is 
to what my lady's wardrobe comes, Horatio ; this is the ante- 
penultimate of flounce and furbelow, of insertion-tucker and 
bishop-sleeve. Mamselle Prudence has my lady's leavings, 
and Abigail looks after her perquisites, and thus the trappings 
of fashion come down to Jewry, and are refreshed and 
retouched, sponged and lacquered and refaced, and take 
their final leave of life amid the fashionable purlieus of 
Whitechapel, or the nautical homes of the blessed at 
Shadwell. No lack of customers here ; stalwart roughs 
being jammed into tight pea-jackets by jabbering salesmen, 
who call on the passers-by to admire the fit. " Plue Vitney, 
ma tear ! Plue Vitney, and shticksh to him like his shkin, 
don't it?" "Who could fit you if I can't?" "Trai a 
vethkit, then !" — this to me — "a thplendid vethkit, covered 
all over with thilver thripes ! " While, after declining this 
gorgeous garment, I find Oppenhardt in the clutches of a 
lithe-fingered Delilah, who is imploring him to let her sell 
him " thutch a thirt ! " Everywhere the trade is brisk, and 
the sales progress through an amount of fierce argument, 
verbal and gesticulatory, which would be held fatal to 
business anywhere else in London, but which is here accepted 
as a part of the normal condition of commerce. 

In and out of the rows of stalls we dived, Wells in 


front, recognised occasionally, sometimes by a tradesman 
seated in solemn dignity at his stall, who insists on a friendly 
handshake. Sometimes the inspectorial presence is acknow- 
ledged by a sly nod or a wink, as much as to say, " No 
uniform ! Then you don't want to be much noticed ! How 
are you ? " and sometimes by a half-chaffing shout of " Vot, 
is it you, thargent ! now'th your time for a hovercoat ! " 
We see plenty of public-houses, all with Jewry signs ; and 
we suggest to Wells that, being half suffocated, perhaps we 
ought to have " something " after this protracted struggle 
and the swallowing of this dust. But he says, "Not yet, 
sir ; in a jewel-house ! " and with that mysterious hint 
proceed we to clear the way out of the Exchange. 

In a jewel-house ! As I ponder on the words, my mind 
rushes away to the regalia in the Tower and Colonel Blood's 
attempt thereon ; to Hunt and Roskell's shop, and the 
Queen of Spain's jewels, which were in the old Exhibition 
of '51 ; to the Palais Royal at Paris, and the Zeil at 
Frankfort ; to a queer street at Amsterdam, where I once 
saw a marvellous collection of jewellery; to a queer man 
whom I once met in a coffee-shop, who told me he 
" travelled in emeralds ; " to Sindbad's Valley of Diamonds, 

and Wells breaks my reverie by touching my arm. I 

follow him across a square, in the centre of which are 
several knots of men in discussion ; opposite us stands the 
door of " The Net of Lemons," apparently closed, but it 
oields to Wells's touch ; and, following him up a passage, I 
find myself in a low-roofed, square-built, comfortable room. 
Round three sides of it are ranged tables, and on these 
tables are ranged large open trays of jewellery. There they 
lie in clusters, thick gold chains curled round and round 
like snakes, long limp silver chains, such as are worn by 
respectable mechanics over black satin waistcoats on 
Sundays, great carbuncle pins glowing out of green-velvet 
cases, diamond rings and pins, and brooches and necklaces. 


Modest emeralds in quaint old-fashioned gold settings, lovely 
pale opals, big finger-rings made up after the antique with 
cut cornelian centre-pieces, long old-fashioned earrings (I 
saw nothing in any of the trays in modern settings), little 
heaps of loose rubies, emeralds, and turquoises, set aside in 
corners of the trays, big gold and silver cups and goblets 
and trays and tazzas, here and there a clumsy old epergne, 
finger-rings by the bushel, pins by the gross, watches of all 
kinds, from delicate gold Genevas down to the thick turnipy 
silver " ticker " associated with one's school-days, and shoals 
of watch-works without cases. " They've melted down the 
cases," says Inspector Wells to me in a fat whisper, " and 
can let the works go very cheap." Such trade as is being 
done is carried on in a very low tone ; the customers, nearly 
all of whom are smoking cigars, bend over the trays and 
handle the goods freely, sometimes moving with them in 
their hands to another part of the room, to see them in a 
better light, and the vendors making not the least objection. 
I thought I noticed a whisper run round as we entered, 
but the sight of Wells was sufficient, and no further notice 
was taken. We were afterwards told, however, that a 
stranger is generally unceremoniously walked out, and 
informed that " it's a private room." After a few moments 
we were introduced by Inspector Wells to Mr. Marks, the 
landlord of the house, who wore a pork-pie hat and had a 
diamond brooch in his shirt, and two or three splendid 
diamond rings on his not too clean hands, and whose face 
struck me as being one of the very knowingest I have ever 
met with. Very affable was Mr. Marks, answering all my 
questions in the readiest manner. No ! he didn't consider 
it a full morning; you see, the great diamond sale at 
Amsterdam was on just now, and many of his frequenters 
were away at it. Had any great bargains been made that 
morning ? Well, there had been a set of diamonds brought 
in,, which were sold about ten o'clock for seventeen hundred 


pounds, and which, up to the present time (it was now about 
twelve), had been re-sold in the room nine times, and each 
time at a profit. Some men had made two pounds profit, 
some three, one as much as thirteen pounds — but each had 
re-sold his diamonds at a profit. " That's the vay vith our 
people ! " said Mr. Marks ; " anything for a deal ! Ve 
mustht have a deal, and in a deal ve mustht have a leetle 
profit. Lath veek I had a thouthand poundth tranthaction 
— I rethold the goods the thame day. Vot vos my profit ? 
Fifty poundth ? No ! Theven and thicpeth ! Thtill, there 
vos a profit. Look here now " (pulling a handful of various 
coin, perhaps four pounds fifteen in value, out of his 
left-hand trousers-pocket), " that'th vot I made on my 
little tranthactionth thith morning ! Committhion money 
I call it." 

I asked Mr. Marks if there were any celebrated characters 
at that time in his house, and he begged us to walk into his 
sanctum : a cheery well-appointed kitchen, arrived at by 
passing through the bar. There he introduced us to 
Mr. Mendoza, one of the largest diamond-merchants in the 
world, and a gentleman who had been consulted as to the 
cutting and setting of the Koh-i-noor. A quiet-looking 
man Mr. Mendoza, with a sallow complexion and an eye 
beaming like a beryl. Told by Mr. Marks that we are 
curious strangers without any objectionable motive, Mr. 
Mendoza was truly polite, and on being asked if he had 
anything of price with him, produced from the breast-pocket 
of his overcoat a blue paper which looked like the cover of 
a Seidlitz powder, but which contained large unset diamonds 
to the value of four hundred and seventy-five pounds. As 
these were exposed to our view, Mr. Marks took from his 
waistcoat-pocket a glittering pair of fine steel pincers and 
selecting three or four of the largest diamonds, breathed on 
them and then put them on one side, with a view to 
purchase. " You use pincers, I see, Mr. Marks ? " I 


remarked. " Veil, thir," says that urbanest of men, with a 
wink that conveys volumes, " fingerth is thticky, and dimonth 
cling to the touch. Mr. Mendoza knowth me and don't 
mind vot /do, but he vouldn't let everybody try his dimonth. 
You thee, the vay to try a dimonth ith by breathin' on him. 
Yell, ven thtcm folkth trieth 'em, they inhaleth inthed of 
ekthalin, and thoveth out their tongueth at the thame time, 
tho that ven they put'th their tongueth back again, there 
ain't qvite tho many dimonth in the paper ath there voth at 
firth ! " I asked Mr. Mendoza if he had ever been robbed, 
and he told me never. Was he not well known? Yes, but 
he kept to the broad thoroughfares, and never went out at 
night. He showed us several other papers of diamonds of 
greater or less value, and several stones handsomely set in 

Hospitable intentions overcame Mr. Marks (a really 
sensible, good-natured, most obliging man), and he insists 
upon our having a bottle of wine. Clicquot he proposes. 
We decline Clicquot, but as he will not be balked, and 
insists upon our "giving it a name," we stand sponsor to 
sherry. And very good sherry it is, and very good is Mr. 
Marks's talk over it. He tells us what sober people they 
are in Jewry, and how they never, by any chance, have more 
than one glass of brandy-and-water at a sitting ; how they 
leave his rooms at two and go home to dinner, not returning 
until six in the evening, when they have coffee and sit down 
to whist, playing away till eleven ; " when," says Mr. Marks 
with a terrific wink in the direction of Inspector Wells, 
whose back happens to be turned, " when thith houth 
alwayth clotheth to the minute, accordin' to the Act o' Parly- 
ment." Every word of which talk is, as the Inspector 
afterwards pithily informs me, " kidment : " a pleasant dis- 
syllable, meaning, I believe, in pure Saxon, playful flight of 



If any reader of this book should require full and valuable 
information regarding the houses in the various suburbs of 
London, their size, rent, advantages and disadvantages, 
annual amount of sewer's rate and land-tax, soil, climate, 
quality of water, and other particulars, let him address a 
letter, post-paid, to " Wanderer," under cover to the pub- 
lishers, and he will have his heart's desire. I am " Wanderer," 
if you please, and I am in a position to give the information 
named ; for, during the last ten years, I have led a nomadic 
and peripatetic existence ; now becoming the tenant of a 
villa here, now blossoming as the denizen of a mansion 
there, sipping the sweets of the assessed taxes and the 
parochial rates, and then flying off, with my furniture in 
several large vans, to a distant neighbourhood. Want of 
money, possession of funds, hatred of town, detestation of 
the country, a cheerful misanthropy, and an unpleasant 
gregariousness — all these have, one by one, acted upon me, 
and made me their slave. What I have learned by sad 
experience, I now purpose to teach : setting myself up as a 
pillar of example and warning to my dissatisfied fellow- 

Before I married, I lived in chambers in Piccadilly, kept 
my horse, belonged to the Brummel Club, and was looked 


upon as rather a fine fellow; but when I married, my Uncle 
Snape (from whom I obtained the supplies for my expenses, 
and who was a confirmed woman-hater) at once stopped my 
allowance, and 1 had nothing but my professional earnings 
as an Old Bailey barrister, and a hundred a year which I 
had inherited. Under these circumstances I had intended 
going into lodgings ; but my wife's family (I don't know 
exactly what that means : she has no mother, and her father 
never interferes with her or her sisters : I think it must be 
her sisters who are the family, but we always speak of " the 
family ") were very genteel, and looked upon lodgings as 
low ; so it was generally understood that I must take a 
house, and that "the family" would help to furnish it. I 
need not mention that there was a great discussion as to 
where the house should be. The family lived in St. John's 
Wood, and wished us to be near them ; but the rents in 
that saintly neighbourhood were beyond my means, and, 
after a great deal of searching and heart-aching worry, after 
inspecting a dozen "exact things," "just what you wanted," 
and " such treasures ! " found for me by friends, none of 
which would do, I at last took a house in Bass's Buildings, 
in the New Road. That great thoroughfare has since been 
subdivided, I think, but then it was the New Road stretching 
from Paddington to Islington, and our house was about a 
mile from the Paddington end. It was small, but so was 
the rent, sixty pounds a year, and it was quite large enough 
for my wife and me and our one servant. It had a little 
garden in front, between it and the road, with a straight 
line of flagstones leading direct from the gate to the door- 
steps, and bits of flower-beds (in which nothing ever grew) 
intersected by little gravel-paths about a foot wide. This 
garden was a source of great delight to my humorous friends. 
One of them could be seen carefully putting one foot before 
the other, in order that he might not step off the path, and, 
after wandering in and out between the little beds, would 


feign excessive fatigue on his arrival at the house, declaring 
he had been "lost in the shrubbery ;" another would suggest 
that we should have a guide on the spot to show visitors the 
nearest way ; while a third hoped we intended giving some 
out-door fetes in the summer, assuring us that the "band 
of the Life Guards would look splendid on that," pointing 
to a bit of turf about the size of a pocket-handkerchief. 
When the street-door was opened wide back, it entirely 
absorbed the hall, and we could not get out of the dining- 
room door ; but then we could, of course, always pass out 
through the " study," a little room like a cistern, which just 
held my desk and one chair. 

There was a very small yard at the back, giving on to a 
set of stables which had their real entrance in the mews ; 
but we were compelled to cover all our back windows with 
putty, imitative of ground-glass, on which we stuck cut-out 
paper designs of birds and flowers, as these looked directly 
on the rooms over the stables, inhabited by the coachman 
and his family ; and the sight of a stalwart man at the 
opposite window, shaving himself in very dingy shirt-sleeves 
within a few feet of your nose, was not considered genteel 
by the family. We were rather stivy in the upstairs rooms, 
owing to low ceilings, and a diffidence we felt as to opening 
the windows, for the New Road is a dusty thoroughfare, and 
the immediate vicinity of a cab-stand, though handy on some 
occasions, lets one into rather a larger knowledge of the 
stock of expletives with which the English language abounds, 
than is good for refined ears. But when we knew that the 
coachman was out, we used to open the back windows and 
grow very enthusiastic over " fresh air from Hampstead and 
Highgate," which, nevertheless, always seemed to me to 
have a somewhat stabley twang. One great point with the 
family was that there were no shops near us : that being an 
acme of vulgarity which it appears no well-regulated mind 
can put up with ; to be sure, the row immediately opposite 


to us was bounded by a chemist's, but then, you know, a 
chemist can scarcely be called a tradesman — at least the 
family thought so — and his coloured bottles were rather a 
relief to the eye than otherwise, giving one, at night, a 
strange idea of being at sea in view of land. On the door 
next to the chemist's stood, when we first took posses- 
sion of our house in Bass's Buildings, a brass plate with 
" Middlemiss, Portrait Artist," on it, and by its side a little 
case containing miniatures of the officer, the student in cap 
and gown, and the divine in white bands, with the top of the 
wooden pulpit growing out from under his arms, which are 
common to such professors. It was a thoroughly harmless 
little art-studio, and apparently did very little business, no 
one ever being seen to enter its portal. But after a twelve- 
month Mr. Middlemiss died, and we heard through the 
electric chain of our common butcher, that his son, a youth 
of great spirit, was about to carry on the business. The 
butcher was right. The new proprietor was a youth of great 
spirit, no half measures with him ; he certainly did not fear 
his fate too much, nor were his deserts small (though in his 
lamented father's time his dinners were said to have been 
restricted), for he set his fate upon one touch — of paint — to 
win or lose it all. He coloured the entire house a bright 
vermilion, on which, from attic to basement, the following 
sentences were displayed in deep black letters : " The Shop 
for Portraits ! Stop, Examine, and Judge for Yourselves ! 
' Sit, Cousin Percy; sit, good Cousin Hotspur '■ — Shakespeare. 
Photography defied ! Your Likeness in Oils in Ten Minutes ! 
' The Counterfeit Presentment ' — Shakespeare. Charge low, 
Portraits lasting ! Art, not Mechanical Labour ! " Kit-cat 
portraits of celebrated characters copied from photographs 
leered out of every window, while the drawing-room balcony 
was given up to Lord John Russell waving a parchment 
truncheon, and Mr. Sturgeon, the popular preacher, squinting 
at his upheld forefinger. The family were out of town when 



this horrible work was undertaken : when they returned, 
they declared with one voice that we could live in Bass's 
no longer, and must move at once. 

I was not sorry, though I liked the little house well 
enough ; but we had been confined there in more senses 
than one, and wanted more room for our family, now 
increased by a baby and a nurse. The nurse was a low- 
spirited young person, afflicted with what she called " the 
creeps," under the influence of which she used to rock to 
and fro, and moan dismally and slap the baby on the back ; 
and it was thought that change of scene might do her good. 
I was glad, too, for another reason. I had recently 
obtained occasional employment on a daily journal, which 
detained me until late at night at the newspaper-office, and 
I had frequently to attend night consultations at the 
chambers of leading barristers, to whom I was to act as 
junior. Bass's Buildings were a horrible distance from the 
newspaper-office and the chambers ; and walking home at 
night had several times knocked me up. So my wife 
submitted to the family a proposition that I must remove 
to some more convenient position ; and the family, after a 
struggle (based, I am inclined to think, on the reflection 
that lunch at my expense would not be so practicable), 

The neighbourhood of Russell Square was that selected, 
and in it we began to make constant research. There are 
few Londoners of the rising generation who know those 
ghastly streets, solemn and straight, where the daylight at 
the height of summer fades at four o'clock, and in winter 
only looks in for an hour about noon ; where the houses, 
uniform in dirt and dinginess, in lack of paint on their 
window-sills, and in fulness of filth on their windows, stare 
confronting each other in twin-like similitude. Decorum 
Street, Hessian Street, Walcheren Square, Great Dettingen 
Street, each exactly resembling the other, all equally dreary, 


equally deserted, equally heart-breaking, equally genteel. 
Even the family could not deny the gentility, but were good 
enough to remember having visited a judge in Culloden 
Terrace, and having been at the routs of Lady Flack, wife 
of Sir Nicholas Flack, Baronet, Head of the College of 
Physicians, and Body-preserver in Ordinary to the Great 
Georgius of sainted memory. All the districts just named 
were a little above my means ; but eventually I settled 
down into a house in Great Dowdy Street, a row of small 
but very eligible tenements on the Dowdy estate. None of 
your common thoroughfares, to be rattled through by vulgar 
cabs and earth-shaking Pickford's vans ; but a self-included 
property, with a gate at each end and a lodge with a porter 
in a gold-laced hat and the Dowdy arms on the buttons of 
his mulberry-coloured coat, to prevent anyone, except with 
a mission to one of the houses, from intruding on the 
exclusive territory. The rent was seventy pounds a year, 
"on a repairing lease" (which means an annual outlay of 
from five-and-twenty to thirty to keep the bricks and mortar 
and timbers together), and the accommodation consisted of 
a narrow dining-room painted salmon-colour, and a little 
back room looking out upon a square black enclosure in 
which grew fearful fungi; two big drawing-rooms, the 
carpeting of which nearly swallowed a quarter's income; 
two good bed-rooms, and three attics. I never went into 
the basement save when I visited the cellar, which was a 
mouldy vault under the street-pavement, only accessible 
through the area, and consequently rendering anyone going 
to it liable to the insults of rude boys, who would grin 
through the area-railings, and say, " Give us a drop, 
guv'nor;" or, "Mind you don't drop the bottle, old 'un;" 
and other ribald remarks ; but I believe the kitchen was 
pronounced by the servants to be " stuffy," and the whole 
place " ill conwenient," there being no larder, pantry, nor 
the usual domestic arrangements. I know, too, that we 

N 2 


were supposed to breed and preserve a very magnificent 
specimen of the blackbeetle ; insects which migrated to- 
different parts of the house in droves, and which to the 
number of five-and-twenty being met slowly ascending the 
drawing-room stairs, caused my wife to swoon, and me to 
invest money in a hedgehog : an animal that took up his 
abode in the coal-cellar on the top of the coals, and, retiring 
thither early one morning after a surfeit of beetles, was 
supposed to have been inadvertently " laid" in the fire by 
the cook in mistake for a lump of Wallsend. 

I don't think there were many advantages in the Great 
Dowdy Street house (though I was very happy there, and 
had an immense amount of fun and pleasure) beyond the 
proximity to my work, and the consequent saving in cab- 
hire and fatigue. But I do recollect the drawbacks ; and 
although six years have elapsed since I experienced them, 
they are constantly rising in my mind. I remember our 
being unable ever to open any window without an immediate 
inroad of " blacks : " triturate soot of the most penetrating 
kind, which at once made piebald all the antimacassars, 
toilet-covers, counterpanes, towels, and other linen ; I 
remember our being unable to get any sleep after five a.m., 
when, at the builder's which abutted on our back enclosure, 
a tremendous bell clanged, summoning the workmen to 
labour, and from which time there was such a noise of 
sawing, and hammering, and planing, and filing, and tool- 
grinding, and bellows-blowing, interspersed with strange 
bellowings in the Celtic tongue from one Irish labourer to 
another, and mingled with objurgations in pure Saxon from 
irate overseers, that one might as well have attempted a 
quiet nap in the neighbourhood of Babel when the tower 
was in course of erection. I remember, on the first occasion 
of our sleeping there, a horrible yell echoing through the 
house, and being discovered to proceed from the nurse 
aforenamed, who had, at the time of her shrieking, about 


six a.m., heard "ghostes a bursting in through the walls." 
We calmed her perturbed spirit, finding no traces of any- 
such inroads ; but were aroused in a similar manner the 
next morning, and then discovered that the rushing in of 
the New River supply, obedient to the turncock's key, was 
the source of the young person's fright. I remember the 
hot summer Sunday afternoons, when the pavement would 
be red-hot, and the dust, and bits of straw, and scraps of 
paper, would blow fitfully about with every little puff of air, 
and the always dull houses would look infinitely duller with 
their blinds down, and no sound would fall upon the ear 
save the distant hum of the cabs in Holborn, or the footfall 
of some young person in service going to afternoon church 
— or to what was, in her mind, its equivalent — in all the 
glory of open-worked stockings, low shoes, and a prayer- 
book swaddled in a white cotton pocket-handkerchief. I 
have sat at my window on scores of such Sundays, eyeing 
the nose of Lazarus over the dwarf Venetian blinds opposite, 
or the gorgeous waistcoat of Eliason, a little higher up (for 
the tribes are great in the neighbourhood). I have stared 
upwards to catch a glimpse of the scrap of blue unclouded 
sky, visible above the houses ; and then I have thought of 
Richmond Hill; of snowy tablecloths, and cool Moselle-cup, 
and salmon-cutlets, in a room overhanging the river at the 
Orkney Arms, at Maidenhead ; of that sea-breeze which 
passes the little hotel at Freshwater Bay, in wild hurry to 
make play over the neighbouring downs ; of shaded walks, 
and cool retreats, and lime avenues, and overhung bathing- 
places, and all other things delicious at that season ; until I 
have nearly gone mad with hatred of Great Dowdy Street, 
and fancied myself pretty able to comprehend the feelings 
of the polar bears in their dull retrogressive promenade in 
the Zoological Gardens. That none of our friends had ever 
heard of Great Dowdy Street ; that no cabman could be 
insiructed as to its exact whereabout, naming it generally as 


"somewhere near the Fondlin';" that migration to a friend's 
house in a habitable region to dinner occasioned an 
enormous expense in cab-fare ; that all the tradesmen with 
whom we had previously dealt declined our custom, "as 
they never sent that way ; " that we found Tottenham Court 
Road a line of demarcation, behind which we left light, and 
sunshine, and humanity — on our side of which we tumbled 
into darkness and savagery ; that we were in the midst of a 
hansom-cab colony, clattering home at all hours of the 
night; and in the immediate neighbourhood of all the 
organ-men, who gave us their final grind just before mid- 
night ; all these were minor but irritating annoyances. At 
length, after six years' experience of this life, we heard that 
Uncle Snape was dead, and had left me some money ; 
and we immediately determined on quitting Great Dowdy 

" Oh, my life in Egypt ! " sighs Cleopatra in the 
Dream of Fair Women, remembering the dalliance and 
the wit, the Libyan banquets, and all the delights of that 
brief but glorious season. " Oh, my life in Agatha Villa? 
Old Brompton ! " say I, which was quite as brief, and 
almost as glorious. We entered upon Agatha Villa im- 
mediately on quitting Great Dowdy Street, and revelled in 
the contrast. Such an elegant house ; such a dining-room 
in red flock paper and black oak furniture, such a drawing- 
room in satin paper and chintz, opening with large French 
windows upon a little lawn, such a study for me, such a spare 
bed-room for a bachelor friend from Saturday till Monday ! 
It was at Agatha Villa that we commenced our delightful 
little Sunday dinners — which, indeed, finished in the same 
place. It was at Agatha Villa we first discovered how 
fond people were of us ; what a popular writer I was ; how 
my oratorical displays at the Old Bailey were making a 
sensation. People liked coming to see us at Agatha Villa : 
not for the mere sake of what they got, of course, but 


because they were sure of meeting "such charming people" 
at our house : money was all very well, they would remark, 
but no money could bring together such a host of genius as 
was always to be seen at Agatha Villa. The host of genius 
(I am not speaking of myself) was expensive to entertain ; 
it stopped late, it dined heavily, it smoked on the lawn, and 
remained sipping cold drinks until past midnight. Its 
admirers remained too : sometimes some of the host of 
genius borrowed money and didn't return it ; the host of 
genius was always either painting a picture which I was 
expected to buy, or giving a concert which we were expected 
to patronise, or having a " ben " for which we had to take 
stalls. From one of the admirers of the host of genius I 
bought a pair of horses, they were not good horses ; from 
another I purchased a phaeton, it was a bad one ! I confess 
I did not like the manner in which some of the host of 
genius used to climb up the walls and kiss their hands to 
Miss Crump's young ladies who were walking in the next 
garden, and I owned to Miss Crump that it was too strong 
retaliation even for the pianoforte practice at five a.m. : they 
could not take any liberties with my neighbour on the other 
side, for he was Dr. Winks, the celebrated mad-doctor, and 
we were always in a state of mental terror lest some of his 
patients should get loose and come over the wall at us. 
However, the life at Agatha Villa, though merry, was brief. 
Through my own exertions, and those of the host of genius, 
I ran through a couple of thousand pounds in two years, and 
then the Cotopaxi Grand Imperial Mining Company, in 
which I had invested the rest of Uncle Snape's money, 
went to smash, and I had to give up Agatha Villa. 

The thought of having to return to London and its 
dreariness, in the summer which had just set in, was the 
bitterest morsel of that tart humility which we were about 
to partake of; and you may judge, therefore, with what 
delight I received an offer of a country-house, rent free, for 


a year. " It's a capital old house, any way," said old Cutler, 
its owner, " a capital house, near town, and yet thoroughly 
in the country. I'm going to take my gal abroad for a year 
to see the Continent, and you're not only welcome to live at 
Wollops, but I shall be obliged to you for keeping the place 
aired." Now, Wollops was a house, if you like ! An old 
red-brick Queen-Anne mansion, with little deep mullioned 
diamond-paned windows, with quaint old armour in the 
hall, and a portrait of Brabazon de Wollop, temp. Charles 
the Second, over the chimney-piece; there are long passages, 
and tapestry-hung rooms, and oak corridors, and secret 
doors, and a wine-cellar so like a subterraneous dungeon, 
that my heart sank within me every time I entered it ; there 
were likewise numerous bed-rooms, with tremendous bed- 
steads, all plumes and hangings ; and a stone kitchen like 
that one in the Tower of London which Mr. Cruikshank 
drew. The house stood in the middle of splendid grounds ; 
there was a carriage drive up to it ; its drawing and dining 
room windows looked out upon a beautiful lawn dotted here 
and there with brilliant beds of verbena and scarlet geranium; 
and there was a lake, and a kitchen-garden, and an orchard, 
all kept up at Mr. Cutler's expense ; and everything was so 
noble and so grand, that a friend, who knew the reason of 
our quitting Agatha Villa, remarked, on seeing Wollops, 
that one more attempt at retrenchment would take us into 
Buckingham Palace. From our windows we looked away 
over green fields, to Harrow on the one side, to Highgate 
on the other, and it was worth something when coming 

From brawling courts 
And dusty purlieus of the law, 

to feel your feet on the turf, with the sweet fresh air blowing 
round you, and that soft silence, broken only by the pipe of 
bird or hum of insect, which is the greatest of all rural 
charms to an overworked Londoner. Wollops was too far 


for the host of genius, as they could not have got back at 
night, so we only had our own friends and the family. I am 
happy to say that the croquet-parties at Wollops were the 
cause of marrying off my wife's two younger sisters : one to 
a revising barrister, and the other to a county-court judge : 
while the elder girls, who had been very uncivil about what 
they called the " goings on " at Agatha Villa, were so 
delighted with Wollops that they forgave us off-hand, 
and each came and stayed a month. All this was during 
the summer weather ; the autumn of that year was as good 
as summer, warm, clear, and sunny, and we were thoroughly 
happy. But, one fatal morning in the middle of November 
we got up and found winter had arrived ; the wind roared 
through the old house, and moaned and shrieked in the 
long corridors ; the rain dashed against the badly-fitting 
romantic windows, and lodged in large pools on their inner 
sills ; the water-pipe along the house was choked, over- 
flowed, soaked through the old red brick, which was just 
like sponge, and coming through the drawing-room wall, 
spoilt my proof copy of Landseer's Titania. The big bare 
trees outside rattled and clashed their huge arms, the 
gardeners removed everything from the beds, the turf grew 
into rank grass, and the storms from Harrow to Highgate 
were awful in their intensity. Inside the house, the fires 
would not light for some time, and then the chimneys 
smoked awfully, and the big grates consumed scuttles of 
coals and huge logs of wood without giving out the smallest 
heat. The big hall was like a well ; after dark the children 
were afraid to go about the passages ; and the servants came 
in a body and resigned, on account of the damp of the 
stone kitchen. Gradually the damp penetrated everywhere ; 
lucifers would not strike, a furry growth came upon the 
looking-glass, the leather chairs all stuck to us when we 
attempted to rise. My wife wanted us to leave Wollops, 
but I was firm — for two nights afterwards ; then the rats, 


disturbed by the rains from their usual holes, rushed into 
our bed-room and danced wildly over us. The next morn- 
ing at six a.m. I despatched the gardener to town, to bring 
out three cabs, and removed my family in those vehicles to 
lodgings in Cockspur Street, where I am at present. 



A pleasant place, the Fenchurch Street Railway Station, 
to a person who knows at which of the numerous pigeon- 
holes he should apply for his ticket, and who does not mind 
running the chance of being sent to Margate when his 
destination is Kew. A pleasant place for a person without 
corns, who is, what grooms say of horses, " well ribbed up," 
and whose sides are impervious to elbow-pressure ; who is 
complacent in the matter of being made the resting-place 
for bundles in white-spotted blue-cotton pocket-handker- 
chiefs, who is undisturbed by squirted tobacco-juice, who 
likes the society of drunken sailors, Jew crimps, and a baby- 
bearing population guiltless of the wash-tub. It has its 
drawbacks, the Fenchurch Street Railway Station, but for 
that matter, so has Pall Mall. It was crammed last Easter 
Monday — so crammed that I had literally to fight my way 
up to the pay-place, above which was the inscription, 
" Tickets for the Woodford line ; " and when I had reached 
the counter, after many manifestations of personal strength 
and activity, it was disappointing to receive a ticket for a 
hitherto unheard-of locality called Barking, and to be 
severely told that I could not book to Woodford for twenty 
minutes. I retired for a quarter of an hour into the shadow 
of one of the pillars supporting the waiting-hall, and listened 


to the dialogue of two old farmers who were patiently 
waiting their turn. " A lot of 'em ! " said one, a tall old 
man with brown body-coat, knee-cords, and top-boots, 
having at his feet a trifle of luggage in the shape of a sack 
of corn, an old saddle, and a horse-collar. "A lot of 
'em ! all a pleasurin' excursionin', I s'pose ! " " Ah ! " 
said the other, a wizen dirty-faced little fellow in a long 
drab great-coat reaching to his heels, " it were different 
when we was young, warn't it, Maister Walker ? It was all 
fairs then ! " " Stattys ! " said the first old boy, as though 
half in correction ; " there were Waltham Statty, and Leyton 
Statty, and Harpenden Statty, and the gathering of the 
beastes at Cheshunt, and that like ! " And then the 
■two old fellows interchanged snuff-boxes and shook their 
heads in silent lamentation over the decadence of the times. 
The twenty minutes wore away ; the Barking people dis- 
appeared slowly, filtering one by one through the smallest 
crack of a half-opened door ; and a stout policeman shout- 
ing, " Now for the Woodford line ! " heralded us to the 
glories of martyrdom through the same mysterious outlet. 

What took me out of town last Easter Monday ? Not a 
search for fresh air ; there was plenty of that in London, 
blowing very fresh indeed, and rasping your nose, ears, and 
chin, and other uncovered portions of your anatomy, filling 
your eyes and mouth with sharp stinging particles of dust, 
and cutting you to the very marrow, whenever you attempted 
to strike out across an open space. Not an intention to see 
the country, which was then blank furrow and bare sticks, 
where in a couple of months would be smiling crops and 
greenery ; not with any view of taking pedestrian exercise, 
which I abominate; not to join in any volunteer evolutions; 
not to visit any friends ; simply to see the " revival of the 
glorious Epping Hunt " which was advertised to take place 
at Buckhurst Hill, and to witness the uncarting of the deer 
before the Roebuck Inn. 


We were not a very sporting " lot " in the railway car- 
riage into which I forced an easy way. There were con- 
vivialists in the third and second classes (dressed for the 
most part in rusty black, carrying palpable stone-bottles, 
which lay against their breast-bones under their waistcoats,, 
and only protruded their black-corked necks), who were 
going " to the Forest," and who must have enjoyed that 
umbrageous retreat on one of the bitterest days in March ; 
but we had no nonsense of that kind in my first-class bower. 
There was a very nice young man opposite me, in a long 
great-coat, a white cravat, and spectacles, which were much 
disturbed in their fit by the presence of a large mole exactly 
on the root of his nose between his eyebrows, upon which 
the glasses rode slantingly, and gave him a comic, not to 
say inebriated look : a curate, apparently, by the way in 
which he talked of the schools, and the clubs, and the 
visitings, and the services, to the old lady whom he was 
escorting ; a clean, wholesome-looking old lady enough, but 
obviously not strong in conversation, as she said nothing 
the whole journey but, with a sigh of great admiration, 
"Ah ! Mr. Parkins !" and rubbed her hands slowly over a 
black-and-white basket, like a wicker draught-board. Then 
there were two City gentlemen, who had "left early," as 
they called it, and were going to make holiday in digging 
their gardens, who, after languidly discussing whether the 
reduction in the Budget would be on insurance or income, 
waxed warm in an argument on the right of way through 
Grunter's Grounds. And next to me there was a young 
lady, who, from the colour and texture of a bit of flesh 
between the end of her puce-coloured sheepskin-glove and 
the top of her worked cuff, I judged to be in domestic 
service, but who had on a round hat with a white feather, a 
black silk cloak, a scarlet petticoat, and a crinoline which 
fitted her much in the same way that the " Green " fits Jack 
on the 1 st of May. We dropped this young lady at Snares- 


brook, where she was received by a young man with a larger 
amount of chin than is usually bestowed on one individual ; 
the two City men got out at Woodford, with the Grunter's 
Grounds question still hot in dispute ; and at Buckhurst 
Hill I left the curate and the old lady sole occupants of the 

There was no difficulty in finding the way to the scene 
of the sports, for the neighbourhood was alive, and crowds 
were ascending the hill. Not very nice crowds either, 
rather of the stamp which is seen toiling up Skinner Street 
on execution mornings, or which, on Easter Mondays, 
fifteen years ago, patronised Chalk-Farm Fair. Close-fitting 
caps pulled down over the eyes, with hanks of hair curling 
out from underneath, no shirt-collars, wisps of cotton neck- 
cloths, greasy shiny clothes, thick boots, and big sticks, 
characterised the male visitors : while the ladies were re- 
markably free in their behaviour. The resident population 
evidently did not like us ; all the houses were tight closed, 
and the residents glared at us hatefully out of their windows, 
and received with scornful looks our derisive remarks. A 
prolific neighbourhood, Buckhurst Hill, whither the moral 
and cheerful doctrines of the late Mr. Malthus have ap- 
parently not penetrated, as there was no window without a 
baby, and there were many with three ; a new neighbour- 
hood, very much stuccoed, and plate-glassed, and gable- 
ended, like the outskirts of a sea-side watering-place ; very 
new in its shops, where the baker combined corn-chandlery 
and life-assurance agency — the greengrocer had a small coal 
and wood and coke tendency — and where you might be 
morally certain that under the shadow of the chemist's 
bottles and plaster-of-paris horse lurked bad light-brown 
cigars. On Buckhurst Hill one first became aware of the 
sporting element in the neighbourhood by the presence of 
those singular specimens of horse-flesh which hitherto had 
been only associated in my mind with Hampstead and 


Blackheath — wretched wobegone specimens, with shaggy 
coats, broken knees, and a peculiar lacklustreness of eye, 
and which got pounded along at a great pace, urged by their 
riders, who generally sat upon their necks with curled knees, 
after the fashion of the monkeys in the circus steeple-chase. 
When we got to the top of the hill, we emerged upon 
the main road, and joined the company, who, possessing 
their own vehicles, had disdained the use of the railway. 
The most popular conveyance I found to be that build of 
cart which takes the name of " Whitechapel," from the 
fashionable neighbourhood where it is most in vogue ; but 
there were also many four-wheeled chaises, so crammed 
with occupants as to merit the appellation of " cruelty-vans," 
constantly bestowed upon them by the light-hearted mob ; 
there were pleasure-vans filled with men, women, and 
children ; a few cabs, and a large number of those low flat 
trucks, which look as if a drawer in a conchologist's cabinet 
had been cleared out, put upon wheels, and had a shambling 
pony or depressed donkey harnessed to it, and which, I 
believe, are technically known as " flying bedsteads." The 
dust raised by these vehicles, and by a very large pedestrian 
crowd, was overwhelming : the noise caused by the traffic 
and by the shouting of the many-headed was terrific ; and 
the thought of an early lunch in some secluded corner of 
the Roebuck (a tavern whence the hunt starts, and which 
has for many years enjoyed an excellent reputation) was my 
only source of comfort. A few minutes' walk brought me 
to an extemporised fair, with gingerbread stalls, nut-shooting 
targets, and two or three cake-stands, with long funnels pro- 
jecting from them like gigantic post-horns : which I found 
from their inscriptions were, " Queen Victoria's own Rifle 
Gallery," " The British Volunteers' Range — Defence not 
Defiance— Try a Shot ; " and beyond this fair lay the Roe- 
buck, charmingly quaint and clean, and gable-ended, and 


The crowd round the door was rather thick, and it was 
with some difficulty that I edged my way over the threshold, 
and then I came upon a scene. What should have been 
the space in front of the bar, a passage leading through into 
a railed courtyard joining upon the garden, some stairs 
leading to the upper rooms, and a side-room, the parlour of 
the place, were all completely choked with visitors. And 
such visitors ! The London rough is tolerably well known 
to me ; I have seen him in his own peculiar territories in 
the neighbourhood of Drury Lane and Shadwell ; I have 
met him at executions and prize-fights ; I have been in his 
company during the public illuminations ; but I never saw 
such specimens as had taken indisputable possession of the 
Roebuck Inn, nor did I ever elsewhere hear such language. 
All ages were represented here — the big burly rough with 
the receding forehead, the massive jaw, and the deep-set 
restless eye; and the old young boy, the "gonoph," whose 
oaths were as full-flavoured as those of the men, and, 
coming from such childish lips, sounded infinitely more 
terrible ; brazen girls flaunting in twopenny finery ; and 
battered women bearing weazened children in their arms. 
Approach to the bar-counter was only possible after de- 
termined and brisk struggles, and loud and fierce were the 
altercations as to the prices charged, and the attempts at 
evading payment. I could not get out of the house by the 
door at which I had entered, as the crowd behind was 
gradually forcing me forward, and I had made up my mind 
to allow myself to drift through with the mob, when I 
heard a cry of " Clear the road ! " and, amid a great shout- 
ing and laughing, I saw a gang of some thirty ruffians in 
line, each holding on to the collar of the man in front of 
him, make a rush from the back door to the front, pushing 
aside or knocking down all who stood in the way. Being 
tall and tolerably strong, I managed to get my back against 
a wall, and to keep it there, while these Mohocks swept 


past ; but the people round me were knocked over like 
ninepins. This wave of humanity ebbed in due course, 
and carried me out with it into the garden, where I found 
a wretched brass band playing a polka, and some most 
atrocious-looking scoundrels grotesquely dancing in couples 
to the music. 

I got out through the garden to the stables, and thence 
round again to the front, where I found an access of com- 
pany, all pretty much of the same stamp. I was pushing 
my way through them when I heard my name pronounced, 
and looking round saw an old acquaintance. Most 
Londoners know the appearance of the King of the 
Cabmen : a sovereign whose throne is a hansom driving- 
box, and whose crown is the curliest-brimmed of " down 
the road " hats. I have for many years enjoyed the privi- 
lege of this monarch's acquaintance, and have, in bygone 
days, been driven by him to the Derby, when he has shown 
a capital appreciation in the matter of dry sherry as a pre- 
ferable drink to sweet champagne, and once confidentially 
informed me — in reference to his declining a remnant of a 
raised pie — that " all the patties in the world was nothing 
to a cold knuckle of lamb." The monarch couldn't quite 
make out my presence on Buckhurst Hill (he was evidently 
there as a patron of the sport), but he struck his nose with 
his forefinger, and said mysteriously, " Lookin' after 'em, 
sir ? " I nodded, and said, " Yes ; " upon which he winked 
affably, declared, without reference to anything in particular, 
that he " wasn't licked yet, and wouldn't be for ten year," 
and made his way in the direction of the tap. 

The aspect of the day now settled down into a slate- 
coloured gloom, and a bitter east-wind came driving over 
the exposed space in front of the Roebuck where the crowd 
stood. Hitherto there had not been the slightest sign of 
anv start ; but now some half-dozen roughish men on 
long-haired cobs — ill-built clumsy creatures, without the 



ghost of a leap in any of them — were moving hither and 
thither; and in the course of half an hour the old huntsman, 
mounted on a wretched chestnut screw, blowing a straight 
bugle, and followed by four couple and a half of harriers, 
made his way through the crowd and entered the inn yard. 
After another half-hour, we had another excitement in the 
arrival of a tax-cart containing something which looked 
like the top of a tester-bed in a servant's attic, but under 
which was reported to be the stag ; and the delight of the 
populace manifested itself in short jumps and attempted 
peepings under the mysterious cover. Then we flagged 
again, and the mob, left to itself, had to fall back on its 
own practical humour, and derived great delight from the 
proceedings of a drunken person in a tall hat, who butted 
all his neighbours in the stomach — and from a game at foot- 
ball, which had the advantage of enabling the players to 
knock down everybody, men, women, and children, near 
to whom the ball was kicked. At length even these delights 
began to pall : the start had been advertised for two o'clock 
— it was already three ; and discontent was becoming 
general, when a genius hit upon the notion of setting fire 
to the lovely bright yellow furze with which the heath was 
covered, and which was just coming into blossom. No 
sooner thought of than accomplished ! Not in one place 
but in half-a-dozen ; smoke rose, crackling was heard, and 
in a few minutes in place of the pretty flower was a charred 
and blackened heap. This was a tremendous success ; 
and the mob, though half stifled by the smoke and half 
singed by the flame, which leapt fiercely from bush to bush 
under the influence of the wind, and roared and crackled 
lustily, remained thoroughly delighted, until the crowd of 
mounted sportsmen had much increased, and the deer- 
containing cart was seen to be on the move. 

Bumping and jolting over the rugged ground, the cart 
was brought to the bottom of a small hill, and shouts arose 


that a space should be cleared into which the deer could 
be uncarted. But this phase of your British public does 
not like a clear space ; it likes to be close to what it wants 
to see ; and the consequence was, that the crowd clustered 
round within four feet of the cart, and steadfastly refused to 
go back another inch. The persons who managed the 
business seemed to object; but, as all remonstrance was 
futile, they took off the top of the tester-bed, and a light- 
brown deer, without any horns, and looking exceedingly 
frightened, bounded out of the cart, took two short side 
jumps, amid the roar of a thousand voices, leaped some 
palings into an adjacent garden, and then started off 
across country at a splitting pace. The horsemen did 
not attempt to follow, but struck off, some to the right 
and some to the left, to find an easy way into the 
fields ; and the pedestrians climbed on walls, and gave a 
thousand contrary opinions as to where " she " had gone. 
The dogs I never saw, nor did I see any further traces of 
the mounted field, nor of the stag, nor of the huntsman, 
nor did I find anyone who had. No sooner was the 
stag off than the people began to return home ; and I 
followed their example : convinced that of the numerous 
silly " revivals " of which we have heard of late, this 
attempt to resuscitate the Epping Hunt is one of the least 
required and the most absurd. 

O 2 



What does he say ? He says : " Come at six to-night." 
Another delay ! When shall I hear ; when shall I get it ? 

AVhat I want to get is " the office : " not a place of trust, 
not a mahogany-desked, leather-chaired, sky-lighted place of 
business ; not the post-office, nor the booking-office, nor the 
police-office, nor the railway-office, but still "the office." 
From one office I am to get another ; and the first is the 
head-quarters of the sporting world, and the second is the 
name of the place where the two great Millers, whose fame 
has extended far beyond the farinaceous world, are speedily 
to meet, and the whole is — Sphynx avaunt ! I will talk no 
ionger in riddles ; it is useless ; for some CEdipus will soon 
unravel my mystery, remembering of Miss Kilmansegg — • 

How her husband had stormed and treated her ill, 
Because she refused to go down to a mill, 
She couldn't tell where, but remembered still 
That the Miller's name was Mendoza. 

So, to be plain and explicit, I am favoured with introductions 
to the conductors of that newspaper which has for many 
years been the oracle of the sporting world, and the guide, 
philosopher, and friend of sporting men of every degree; 
and from them I have been promised " the office," or the 


information when and where the meeting between Messrs. 
Heenan and King, the two great Millers, is to take place, 
and the chance of a safe conveyance to the meeting. It 
ought to repay me when it comes off, for it has been a 
source of tremendous annoyance beforehand. For days pre- 
viously I have lived in a whirl of excitement and in a cloud 
of slang. In order that everything should be thoroughly 
" square," everything has been left excessively " dark," 
everybody has been enveloped in a halo of Rosicrucian 
mystery, which was so infectious as to lay hold of every- 
body else. Nobody spoke above a whisper about anything; 
and I am bound to state that, falling in with the general 
view, I have winked until my eye is weak, and laid my 
finger alongside my nose until the latter organ is bent, and 
spoken in a charnel-house whisper whenever the topic of 
the Millers was broached, without the smallest idea why I 
have gone through any of these proceedings. I have been 
to the office of the sporting newspaper — once on Tuesday 
morning, when I was very civilly received, and told to come 
on that evening, when I was begged to look in the following 
morning ; and now they tell me, with the utmost courtesy, 
and with an amount of mystery which is in itself exciting, to 
" come at six to-night." Yesterday, when I paid my first 
visit, the whole office was filled with excited gentlemen of 
the pugilistic profession, who were, I learned, the chosen 
" ring-keepers," and who had come there to receive instruc- 
tions as to their duties ; with tawny moustached swells, known 
to the establishment, who were courteously addressed ; and 
with prying members of the public, who were speedily dis- 
missed. Now, on this Wednesday morning, I find the 
place in ordinary working order, and with not a stranger 
present. I pass the glazed room, where the compositors 
are busily picking up their types ; I find one of the principal 
members of the staff reading his proof; I see the boys 
flying about with the long wet slips just fresh pulled ; 


to-night at six evidently means business ; either I shall 
know everything then, or the meeting of the Millers is 
indefinitely postponed. 

I return to my ordinary avocations ; and while engaged 
in them during the afternoon I am visited by my own 
familiar friend, who tells me that the great event is over — 
that the Millers met that morning, and that, after an inter- 
view of an hour and a half's duration, one of them, the 
representative of Transatlantic grist, had succumbed. There 
is no doubt about it ; the interview took place near Michel- 
dever station; and my friend has just seen a railway-guard 
hot from the South- Western line. To my friend I repeat 
my mysterious pantomime : I wink my eye, and lay my fore- 
finger alongside my nose. There must be some tremendous 
hidden force in this ; for my friend retires, evidently believ- 
ing that the guard aforesaid is mendacious. As St. Mary's 
clock strikes six, I enter the sporting newspaper office ; the 
compositors are hard at it under their green-paper-shaded 
lamps, the boys are flying about with the fluttering slips of 
proof; but the editor's door is locked, and the gentleman to 
whom I have been accredited has not come in. So I wait 
in the passage, humbly expectant. Close by me is a little 
closet, wherein a boy and a man are " reading proofs." I 
hear them running over the subject-matter in that dull 
monotonous jargon invariable on such occasions. I think 
it must be coursing that they are discussing, for I catch 
references to Mr. Jones's black dog and Mr. Robinson's 
slate-coloured bitch ; and then a stout man in shirt-sleeves 
and a white apron — the master-printer evidently — looks in, 
and asks if they've got that Billiards, and what's become of 
the slip of Canine.. Now arrives my friend, and with him 
another gentleman, who is introduced to me as the oldest 
member of the journal's staff, who has been connected with 
it for thirty years, and who has officially attended more 
meetings of Millers than perhaps anyone living; a quiet 


unpretending-looking gentleman enough, but with an eye 
like a bead, and a firm-set jaw looking like Determination 
itself. The editor of the sporting newspaper, who is always 
stakeholder and referee on all occasions when the Millers 
meet, and who throughout his life has laboured with the 
utmost spirit to ameliorate the social position of the Millers, 
never shrinking from condemning them in the most 
courageous manner and under circumstances involving the 
deepest personal peril to himself when they were wrong, but 
fighting their battles manfully when they were right — the 
editor is unfortunately laid up by illness at home, and my 
new acquaintance with the determined jaw is on this occa- 
sion, as on many previous ones, to act as his representative. 
He tells me that he and his party will sleep at the London 
Bridge Terminus Hotel ; that he will engage a bed there for 
me, and " take care of me in the morning." Mysterious, 
but satisfactory, I retire with an expression of thanks, feel- 
ing sure that the meeting of the Millers will speedily take 
place, and that I shall be there. 

The meeting of the Millers ! London thinks of nothing 
else ! Round the door of the office of the sporting news- 
paper stands an open-mouthed expectant crowd, who glare 
at me as I come out, and hoarsely bellow to me to " say 
vere." As I pay my cabman, he touches his hat and asks 
me for the latest " tip." At my club, where I dine, I find 
the coffee-room tables surrounded by strange faces, country 
members, who have made the cattle-show the excuse for a 
flying visit to town; but who have really come up to see the 
Millers meet. In the smoking-room aesthetic conversation 
is voted a bore, and scandal is snuffed out. On this even- 
ing Bopps can get no audience for his complaints against 
the Royal Academy ; Sheet's rumour of the intended start- 
ing of a new magazine is pooh-poohed ; and Middleditch's 
story of a peccant countess does not enchain a single listener. 
The Millers, the Millers ! their weight and height; what one 


has done, and what the other promises ; their system of 

training ; who is " on," and what are the offered odds ; what 

is the meaning of " fighting the sack," and what is always a 

deadly blow ; the Millers, the Millers ! until we get so excited 

that little Gillott, who has never wielded anything heavier 

than a pen, doubles up his arm and begins to feel for his 

biceps ; and old Millboard, who painted " Corinthians " half 

a century ago, totters on to his feet to show us how Tom 

Cribb floored Molyneux. Still, the Millers ! Looking in 

at the Music Hall, on my way down to the City, I find the 

bucolic element laughing hoarsely, indeed, at the humour of 

the black men or the saltatory gyrations of the Cure ; but 

relapsing during the entr'actes into earnest talk about the 

Millers, and the chances of their coming meeting ; the 

brickman outside opines that I am a captain, and that I 

shall be " looking on at 'em at Aldershott " in the morning; 

the topic soon intrudes into an extemporised verse of a 

comic song (very shaky in the rhyme, and not at all 

measured as to the number of words in a line), and is 

received with roars of applause. So did the people jest 

and laugh before the great encounter of the gladiators on 

the last day of Pompeii, when Sporus boasted, and Lydon 

hoped, and the girl sang 

Ho ! ho ! for the merry, merry show ! 

Still the Millers ! Down at the London Bridge Terminus 
Hotel, where I find my friends, excited groups dot the coffee 
and smoking rooms, and the young ladies in the bar smile 
with thorough knowingness when we desire to be called at 
four. The manager is a wag, and " supposes we are going 
out shooting," employing, at the same time, the mysterious 
wink and the masonic touch of the nose. The waiter who 
brings our grog lingers near the table to catch fragments of 
our conversation, and points us out to yearning visitors. As 
we take our bed-candles, our friend Determination stops to 


exchange a word or two with a flat-nosed man, who, fol- 
lowed by three vacuous youths, has just entered. "That 
was Jim Sloggers," says Determination afterwards ; " he's 
taking down Lord Tomnoddy and those two other swells." 
It is one o'clock before I get to bed; it is two o'clock before 
I get to sleep. From the adjacent railway-yard come hoarse 
murmurings as of a gathering crowd ; shrieks of belated 
engines, moaning, and grunts of overladen goods trains ; up 
the staircase comes tumbling the bucolic element, apparently 
somewhat the worse for brandy-and-water ; and hoarse good- 
nights, in all kinds of uncouth dialects, break upon the ear, 
then gigantic boots are flung out, waking every echo ; and 
finally, with my mind full of the Millers, I glide off into the 
land of nod. 

The remorseless " boots " thunders at my door at four 
o'clock ; and, after a hasty toilette, I make my way down 
the staircase (on which I encounter a gentleman in full 
dress, who has just come from the Dramatic College Ball, 
and who stares in great wonder at my simple costume and 
billycock hat, and who is evidently tremendously amazed at 
my carrying the lid of a hamper under my arm) to the 
coffee-room, where I find my friends already at breakfast off 
cold chicken and ham. My original acquaintance of the 
sporting newspaper, who is to act as reporter on this occa- 
sion, has apparelled himself in a shooting suit, thick boots 
and gaiters, and has immediately under his greatcoat and 
over all the rest of his clothes a thick blue woollen fisher- 
man's guernsey, a most splendid preventive against cold ; 
he has a thick travelling-cap on his head, and in his pocket 
he carries a gigantic note-book, large enough to contain at 
kast a volume of Macaulay's History written out in text 
hand. I glance at Determination, and find him in the dress 
of the previous evening ; frock-coat, dark trousers, chimney- 
pot hat, blue bird's-eye scarf with valuable pin well pro- 
truded, watch-chain plainly visible : " Lord bless you ! they 


won't touch me," he says ; "they know better ! " A hurried 
breakfast over, we strike across to the terminus, through a 
very small fringe of blackguardism we push our way instan- 
taneously, and then march quietly up between open ranks 
of police to a door, through which we are at once admitted 
to the station. At the open window I pay three sovereigns, 
receiving in return a red-and-white ticket, bearing the words 
" From London, and back;" then I take temporary leave 
of my companions, who have business to look after ; and 
being joined by two other friends, I seat myself in a second- 
class compartment of the enormous train, which is already 
nearly full. 

There is no mistake about our compartment being quite 
full. In addition to myself and my two friends there are a 
thin hatchet-faced pedestrian, two or three pugilists, one 
with an enormously thick stick, one rather merrily " fresh," 
but all perfectly civil and inoffensive, and two nondescript 
men, one with little bleary red eyes. A rough freemasonry 
is at once established ; all talk of the admirable manner in 
which the arrangements have up to this point been carried 
out; one of the pugilists has just left King; "I aired his 
fightin' drawers for him and see him eat three chops for his 
breakfast, like a man," he says ; and we are full of conver- 
sation, when a porter, passing along the line of carriages, 
calls out, "All tickets ready." Hasty whispering takes place 
between three or four of my fellow-travellers ; and the thin 
pedestrian, who is next to me, asks me if " I'd mind sitting 
for'ard." I comply at once ; the pedestrian shrinks into 
nothing behind my tolerably broad shoulders, and the man 
on the other side (the pugilist with the stick) sits " for'ard " 
too. Plainly the pedestrian has no ticket and is trying a 
dodge. But, alas for him, the ticket collector, a strong 
official, bodily enters the carriage, and collects from each 
individual. " Your ticket ? " to the pedestrian. " Mr. 
Willoughby's got it," stammering reply. " What ? " Stam- 


mering reply repeated. " Out you go !" Pedestrian seized 
by the collar and hurled into the arms of expectant porters, 
who speedily run him out of the station. The whole business 
is so instantaneous that we cannot help laughing at the 
poor fellow's expulsion, and we are in the midst of our shout 
when — the officials having withdrawn — one of the pugilists 
lifts up his railway rug, and the bleary-eyed little man creeps 
out from underneath the seat ! Neither I nor my two friends 
had seen him disappear, and we stared in wonder at the 
narrow compass in which he had packed himself, and the 
marvellously quick way in which he had hidden. He is 
thoroughly civil and frank; tells us he was determined to 
see the fight ; that he would not have minded giving ten 
shillings for his ticket, but could not scrape together the 
three pounds ; and then he gave us an account of his 
intrusion into the railway- — how he climbed up ladders and 
dragged them after him, crossed roofs, dropped down walls, 
and finally crept under the long line of carriages and made 
his entry through the window ; after hearing which, I have 
a much meaner opinion of Latude's escape from the Bastille, 
and think that my bleary-eyed friend really deserved his 

It is very nearly six o'clock before the train moves out 
of the station, and the patience of those who arrived at 
three has been severely tried. But there has been no out- 
break, and, indeed, the whole proceedings have been 
carried on with perfect quietude. Once off, we rattle 
along at capital speed, and almost before we expect it 
find ourselves alongside the platform at Redhill Junction, 
listening to the porters calling out the name of the 
station in their ordinary manner. This is evidently a 
portion of the entire " gag." We are an excursion-train, 
of whose object the Railway Company is, of course, 
entirely ignorant ; to ensure our proper safety at London 
Bridge, the police were engaged ; and now, as some of 


us may perhaps be anxious to alight at Redhill, the porters 
give us all due information. But nobody gets out, 
although numberless heads are protruded through carriage- 
windows to stare at five members of the Surrey constabu- 
lary, who are grinning on the platform ; and we speed away 
once more. Some distance farther down we strike off the 
main line towards Tunbridge, and the pugilistic gentleman 
who was " fresh " at starting, and whom frequent applica- 
tions to a brandy-flask have made very convivial, is earnest 
in his offers to "take ten to one they'll fight in the same 
place as Sayers and Heenan did" — nobody responding, he 
takes refuge in sleep. Onward still, through the lovely 
fresh dawn, which is first a rift in a black cloud, and 
gradually broadens into a flood of rosy light, so lovely that 
the attention of all my fellow-travellers is excited, and the 
pugilists break out into raptures of admiration ; a saying of 
one of them that it's " like a picture " being capped by one 
of the nondescript men, who says, " There's no artist like 
Nater — none of 'em could touch that ! " On, with the 
growing day, through Kent — that lovely English garden, 
where the furrowed land lies in purple gloaming, where the 
stacked hop-poles stand black against the horizon, where 
the leafless woods fringe the blue hills, and the lazy cattle 
are here and there pastern-deep in the flooded fields. On, 
past a hitherto unheard-of little place called Frant, to an 
equally unknown station called Wadhurst, where we stop, 
our journey at an end. No fear of official interruption at 
present, at all events ; for there is not a soul near us, and 
the little station-tavern, unexpectant of eleven hundred 
visitors, is tight closed. In a long straggling line we excur- 
sionists start off at once down a red-clay lane ; and then for 
the first time I have opportunity of observing the material of 
which we are composed. I don't think there are a dozen 
" roughs " in the entire company, and even they are so out- 
numbered as to be on their best behaviour ; swells muster 


strongly ; the faces which you are accustomed to see at the 
Opera and in the Park can be counted by dozens ; a few 
theatrical people, a few authors, a few reporters, some fifty 
professional pugilists engaged as ring-keepers and all armed 
with long gutta-percha riding-whips, crowds of heavy-footed 
broad-shouldered yeomen (seduced from the cattle-show), 
and hundreds of sporting publicans and tradesmen. Now 
do we in gaiters congratulate ourselves on our forethought, 
for the loam is heavy and sticky, and soon we leave the 
lane and enter a field, where apparently our pitch is to be 
made. Hither among us arrives a man laden with camp- 
stools, with which he drives a brisk trade, retailing them at 
ten shillings apiece : I do not purchase, for I still retain my 
hamper-lid, on the possession of which I have received 
frequent congratulations from unknown gentlemen, who 
characterise my having brought it as a " reg'lar leery move." 
After half-an-hour's waiting, it is discovered that, for some 
reason unknown to me, the field which we occupy is not 
suitable ; and then commences a regular steeple-chase, over 
ploughed land, through stiff hedges and over swollen dykes, 
until at length we arrive at a sloping field at the ridge of a 
hill, where the ropes and stakes are extracted from the 
sacks in which they have been conveyed, and the formation 
of the ring commences in earnest. 

At this moment, I and some hundreds of others are 
guilty of great weakness in purchasing, at the price of ten 
shillings, an " inner-ring ticket," which is supposed to confer 
on us certain privileges of comfort and security. As it is, 
we discover, when the ropes and stakes are fixed, that there 
is no outer ring, or if there be, there is no one in it, every 
one crowding into the first circle, immediately round the 
fighting-ring, whether they have tickets or not : indeed, one 
on either side of me are two country joskins in smock- 
frocks and soft wide-awakes, who have walked over from an 
adjacent field. The stakes of the fighting-ring, painted 


blue, and adorned at the top with the "colours" or "arms" 
of the respective Millers, look like gigantic constables' 
staves ; from one to the other strong ropes are knotted, 
making a square area of about twenty-four feet. And now, 
with very great trouble, and with much show of assault 
but without any actual molestation, the ring-keepers have 
driven everyone from the fighting-ring, and the crowd, some 
squatting on the ground, some seated on their camp-stools? 
others standing in dense masses behind, and others again 
mounted in trees and on ladders propped against the 
hedges, begins to murmur with expectation. Betting, of 
which there have been mutterings all along, now breaks 
forth in shouts, and keen-eyed men are betting long odds, 
which they offer to lay on the American. In the space of 
three minutes I hear two bets of two hundred pounds to one, 
and thirty-five to twenty, all on Heenan. Now a roar ! What 
is it ? Brayvo, Tom ! Hooray, King ! and I look up and 
see a tall man stepping into the ring, and bowing to his 
welcome. A good-looking man this, with nothing of the 
prize-fighter in his face, which yet has a singular and almost 
sinister expression, owing to the vast development of the 
frontal bones and the smallness and shiftiness of his eyes. 
Another roar ! Brayvo, Jack ! a tremendous shout this 
time greets Mr. Heenan, who grins confidently, and makes 
a sort of mock salute. Both men are together now, tossing 
for choice of position. The toss is won by Heenan, who, 
of course, chooses the higher ground, where he has also the 
advantage of the sun at his back. In pursuance of this 
arrangement, King comes to the corner where I stand ; his 
seconds place his chair, and, so soon as he is seated, wrap 
him all round in a large green rug. He sits perfectly passive, 
his face immobile, his enormous brown hands occasionally 
pulling the rug tighter round him. In the opposite corner, so 
surrounded that I cannot see him, is his adversary. But I 
don't want to see him yet ; I have quite enough to do in 


looking at a middle-sized man, dressed in a fantastic yellow- 
silk jacket, with Hcenan's gaudy-striped " colours " round 
his neck, and a close fitting fur-cap on his head ; a man with 
a flat nose, an enormous jowl, and a face altogether like a 
slack-baked quartern loaf of dirty dough — Tom Sayers. 
He is acting as one of Heenan's seconds, and has, it is 
said, backed him for a great deal of that money which the 
English people subscribed for the courageous Thomas after 
his fight at Farnborough. A tremendous wrangle is going 
on all this time in the ring ; the editor of the sporting news- 
paper, unable to attend himself, has appointed my friend 
Determination to act as referee, and this is objected to by 
King's party, who with frightful language declare they will 
not have him in that capacity. The row is tremendous, 
awful threats are used, sticks and fists are raised ; and at 
this time Determination shows himself in his true character. 
While fifty yelling scoundrels are bawling at and threatening 
him, he stands perfectly unmoved, save perhaps that he 
thrusts on his hat a little tighter, and clenches that under- 
jaw a little more firmly ; but he never flinches from word or 
threat, and tells King that if he is not fighting in twenty 
minutes, he, Determination, as referee, will give the day in 
favour of the other man. This threat — which he has, it 
appears, the power to carry out — has proper effect, and 
King's friends yield; one of them, in a loud voice, swearing 
that if the referee don't act fair he'll be murdered. This 
pleasant piece of badinage I heard uttered. 

The ring is once more cleared of all save the Millers 
and their seconds, and the excitement recommences. 
Greeted by a loud burst of applause, Heenan steps forward. 
He is stripped to the waist, wearing drawers fastening at the 
knee, long stockings, and ankle-jack boots with spiked soles. 
I suppose a finer picture of a man has scarcely ever been 
seen. As he draws himself up with somewhat of a swagger, 
and holds his arms aloft in the air, you can see horny 


muscle working like steel beneath his skin, which is hard, 
brown, and polished like hickory. In another minute a 
shout of welcome is given to King, who stands up in similar 
guise. He is nearly an inch taller than Heenan, who stands 
6 feet i}4, but he weighs a stone less than the American, 
and he looks greyhoundy and thin, as though his training 
had been a little too fine. Now they shake hands rapidly, 
and fall into position. 

I have never before seen a prize-fight, but I am an old 
attendant at the sparring-schools, and have some practical 
as well as theoretical knowledge of the " noble art ; " and it 
strikes me at once that Mr. Heenan is sadly ignorant of the 
proper way to use his hands. In the first round he showed 
this, and also exposed his course of tactics, which was to 
wrestle with his antagonist, to hug him, and — if the truth 
must be told — to break his neck. Heenan wrestles splen- 
didly ; his grip is something tremendous, and he hurled 
King about with a force and ease that was surprising. 
Heenan's backers were enthusiastic, and called out that the 
fight was as good as over. It was curious to watch the two 
men throughout the contest. Heenan always first up to 
time, and, during all the first rounds, smiling, confident, 
and swaggering : King very anxious-looking, with knit brows 
to shade his eyes from the sun, and close-set teeth. King 
fought, Heenan wrestled ; King fought him off, Heenan 
gripped him again and again, and after each grip threw him 
heavily to the ground. Meanwhile the shouts from the 
spectators were terrific : immediately behind me stood a 
raving knot of Heenan's friends, who, not content with 
cheering their champion, heaped clouds of invective and 
ridicule on his adversary. When King got one tremendous 
fall — so tremendous that he lay without motion, even when 
carried to his corner, and I thought he was dead — these 
ruffians jeered him with twofold fury ; and even that incar- 
nation of English virtue, Mr. Thomas Sayers, turned round, 


and pointing at the senseless body, uttered some graceful 
sarcasm. But King revived, partly through the application 
of a bowl of water to his head, partly through another 
application of a more practical nature, and with his revival 
came new fortune. All throughout, his friends had been 
urging him to keep Heenan off, and to make him fight ; and 
now he took the advice. In the next round he struck 
Heenan a blow into which he had put all his strength, and 
in delivering which he seemed to concentrate his pent-up 
rage and humiliation. It did its work ; utterly devoid of 
science, Heenan made no attempt to stop it, and it told on 
his whole frame. He came up again, time after time, with 
a pluck and endurance which cannot be too highly praised ; 
but he was all abroad ; the play of his hands was feeble in 
the extreme, and he was prevented from attempting his old 
tactics of gripping and hugging by King's powerful fists, 
which were shooting out all round him with the force of 
steam-hammers. Heenan was too courageous ; he should 
have given in at least two rounds before the sponge was 
thrown up and King declared the victor, after a fiercely- 
contested fight, lasting thirty-five minutes. 

So ended my first and last experience of the mysteries 
of the Millers and their men. I never wish to attend another 
celebration ; but in all honesty I am bound to say that what 
I did see was by no means so horrifying, so lowering, so 
disgusting, as before and since I heard it described. "When 
I read the account of what I had seen, in the next day's 
Times, I really wondered which I ought to believe — my own 
eyesight or the vivid description of The Times reporter ! 



I was staying out of town by the sea, where I always do my 
own marketing ; and, as the butterman made a little funnel 
of paper in which to enclose my two new-laid eggs. I saw 
a roll of yellow manuscript in faded ink lying in the drawer. 
" What's that ? " I asked. " Waste," he replied. " May I 
look at it ? " " Welcome ; " and he brought it out. A 
large roll of extra-size law-paper, marked outside " Old 
Bailey, July Session, 1782 ; Middlesex. The King against 
George Weston and Joseph Weston, for felony. Brief for 
the prosecutor." 

"Where did you get this?" I asked. "Come with the 
rest," he said ; " pounds of it downstairs ; nigh enough to 
fill my back cellar ! " It was very tempting. I had no 
books save the half-dozen I had brought with me, and 
which I knew by heart ; the evenings were dull and showery ; 
I was getting horribly bored for want of something to read. 
" Will you sell me this roll of paper?" said I. "No ; I'll 
gie 'em to ye," was his spirited response. 

I carried the roll of paper home, and saw my landlady- 
glance at it with undisguised horror as she observed it under 
my arm. Then, after I had dined, and the evening as usual 
had turned out showery, and nobody was left on the esplanade 
save the preventive man, wrapped in his oilskin coat, wearing 


his sou'-wester hat, and always looking through his telescope 
for something which never arrived — I lighted my reading- 
candles, feathery with the corpses of self-immolated moths, 
and proceeded to look over my newly-found treasure. Very 
old, very yellow, very flyblown. Here is the heading of the 
first side : " Old Bailey. July Session, 1782. For Felony. 
Brief for the prosecution " (each item underscored), in the 
left-hand corner. In the right-hand, and kept together by a 

pen-and-ink coupling figure, " The King " (so grand 

that they could not put anybody else in the same line, and 
are obliged to fill it up with a long stroke) " against George 
Weston, o'rwise Samuel Watson, and Joseph Weston, o'rwise 
Joseph Williams Weston, o'rwise William Johnson." Then 
follow six-and-twenty counts of indictment, and then comes 
the " case," whence I cull the facts of the story I am about 
to tell. 

Between two and three o'clock on the morning of 
Monday, the 29th of January, 1781, the mail-cart bringing 
what was called the Bristol mail, with which it had been 
laden at Maidenhead, and which it should eventually have 
deposited at the London General Post-office,, then in 
Lombard-street, was jogging easily along towards Cranford 
Bridge, between the eleventh and twelfth milestone, when 
the post-boy, a sleepy-headed and sickly young fellow (he 
died very shortly after the robbery), was wakened by the 
sudden stopping of his horses. Opening his eyes, he found 
himself confronted by a single highwayman, who presented 
a pistol at his head, and bade him get down from the cart. 
Half asleep, and considerably more than half terrified, the 
boy obeyed, slipped down, and glared vacantly about him. 
The robber, seeing some indecision in his young friend's 
iace, kindly recalled him to himself by touching his forehead 
with the cold barrel of the pistol, then ordered him to 
return back towards Cranford Bridge, and not to look 
round if he valued his life. Such a store did the poor 


boy place upon this commodity, which even then was daily 
slipping from him, that he implicitly obeyed the robber's 
directions, and never turned his head until he reached the 
post-office at Hounslow, where he made up for lost time by 
giving a lusty alarm. 

Hounslow Heath being at that time a very favourite spot 
for highway robberies, it was by no means uncommon for 
the denizens of Hounslow town to be roused out of their 
beds with stories of attack. On this occasion, finding that 
the robbers had had the impudence to lay their sacrilegious- 
hands on his Majesty's mail, the Hounslowians turned out 
with a will, and were speedily scouring the country in 
different directions. Those who went towards the place 
where the boy had been stopped hit upon the right scent. 
They tracked the wheels of the cart on the road leading 
from the great high road to Hestpn, and thence to the 
Uxbridge road, a short distance along that road towards 
London, and then along a branch-road to the left leading to 
Ealing Common, about a mile from which, in a field at a 
distance of eight or ten miles from where the boy was 
robbed, lay the mail-cart, thrown on its side and gutted of 
its contents. The bags from Bath and Bristol for London 
had been rifled, many of the letters had been broken open, 
the contents taken away, and the outside covers were 
blowing about the field. About twenty-eight letter-bags 
had been carried off bodily ; some distance down the field 
was found the Reading letter-bag, rifled of its contents. 
Expresses were at once sent off to head-quarters ; con- 
sternation in the City was very great ; and advertisements, 
giving an account of the robbery and offering a reward, 
were immediately printed, and distributed throughout the 

About nine o'clock on Tuesday morning, the 30th of 
January (before any account of the robbery could have 
arrived at Nottingham), a post-chaise rattled into the yard 


of the Black Moor's Head in that town, and a gentleman 
in a naval uniform alighted and requested to be shown to a 
room. In this room he had scarcely settled himself, before 
he rang the bell, and despatched the waiter to the bank of 
Messrs. Smith to obtain cash for several Bristol bills which he 
handed to him. Messrs. Smith declining these bills without 
some further statement, the gentleman in the naval uniform 
started forth himself, and called at the counting-house of 
Messrs. Wright, old-established bankers in Nottingham, 
where he requested cash for a bank post-bill, No. 1 1,062, 
dated 10th of January, 1781, payable to Matthew Humphrys, 
Esq., and duly endorsed by Matthew Humphrys, but by no 
one else. Mr. AVright, the senior partner, peered over his gold 
spectacles at the gentleman in the naval uniform, and wished 
to know if he were Mr. Humphrys ? As the naval gentleman 
replied in the negative, Mr. Wright requested him to endorse 
the bill, which the naval gentleman did, writing " James 
Jackson " in a rather feeble and illiterate scrawl, but 
receiving cash for his bill. Immediately on his return 
to the hotel, the naval gentleman ordered a post-chaise 
and left Nottingham on an agreeable trip to Mansfield, 
Chesterfield, Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield, Tadcastor, York, 
Northallerton, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle, and Carlisle; 
at each and every one of which places — such were his 
needs — the naval gentleman had to go to the bankers, and 
obtain cash for bills which he presented. Leaving Carlisle, 
he departed by the direct road for London, and was not 
heard of for some days. 

But so soon as the government advertisement arrived in 
Nottingham, the ingenious Mr. Wright was suddenly struck 
with an idea, and concluded (by a remarkable exercise of 
his intellectual forces) that the naval gentleman and the 
robber of the mail-cart were one and the same person. So 
he caused handbills descriptive of the naval gentleman's 
appearance to be printed and circulated, and he sent out 


several persons in pursuit of the purloiner of his hundred 
pounds. Amongst other places, a number of handbills 
were sent to Newark by stage-coach on Thursday, the i st of 
February, addressed to Mr. Clarke, the postmaster, who 
also kept the Saracen's Head Inn. Unfortunately this 
parcel was not opened until about noon on Friday, the 
2nd of February ; but the moment Mr. Clarke read one of 
the notices, he recollected that a gentleman in naval 
uniform had, about four hours before, arrived from Tuxford 
at his house in a chaise and four, had got change from him 
for a bank-note of ^25, and had immediately started in 
another chaise and four for Grantham. 

Now was a chance to catch the naval gentleman before 
he reached London, and an instant pursuit was commenced ; 
but the devil stood his friend so far, for he reached town 
about three hours before his pursuers. His last change was 
at Enfield Highway, whence a chaise and four carried him 
to town, and set him down in Bishopsgate Street between 
ten and eleven on Friday night. The postboys saw him 
get into a hackney-coach, taking his pistols and portmanteau 
with him ; but they could not tell the number of the coach, 
nor where he directed the coachman to drive. 

Having thus traced the highwayman to London, of 
course no one could then dream of taking any further steps 
towards his apprehension without consulting " the public 
office, Bow Street," in the matter ; and at the public office, 
Bow Street, the affair was placed in the hands of one 
Mr. John Clark, who enjoyed great reputation as a clever 
" runner." Mr. John Clark's first act was to issue a reward 
for the appearance of the hackney-coachman; an act which 
was so effectual that, on Monday morning, there presented 
himself at Bow Street an individual named James Perry, 
who said that he was the coachman in question, and 
deposed that the person whom he had conveyed in his 
coach the Friday night preceding was one George Weston, 


whom he well knew, having been a fellow-lodger of his at 
the sign of the Coventry Arms in Potter's Fields, Tooley 
Street, about four months ago. He also said that Weston 
ordered him to drive to the first court on the left hand in 
Newgate Street, where he set him down ; Weston walking 
through the court with his portmanteau and pistols under 
his arm. Further information than this James Perry could 
not give. On Tuesday, the 6th of February, a coat and 
waistcoat, similar to those worn by the naval gentleman 
implicated in these transactions, were found in " Pimlico 
river, near Chelsea Waterworks," by one John Sharp ; and 
finally, Mr. Clark, of the public office, Bow Street, in 
despair at his want of success, advertised George Weston 
by name. But, although a large number of notes and bills 
were "puf off" or passed between that time and the month 
of November, not the least trace could be had of him. 
Mr. Clark, of the public office, Bow Street, owned himself 
done at last; and so, in the pleasant round of highway 
robberies, foot-paderies, burglaries, and murders, the affair 
was almost forgotten. 

In the middle of the month of October, a gentleman, 
dressed (of course) in the height of the mode, entered the 
shop of Messrs. Elliott and Davis, upholsterers, in New 
Bond Street, accompanied by an intimate friend, whom he 
addressed as Mr. Samuel Watson. The gentleman's own 
name was William Johnson; he had, as he informed the 
upholsterers, recently taken a house and some land near 
Winchelsea, and he wished them to undertake the furnishing 
of his house. The upholsterers, like cautious tradesmen, 
requested " a reference ; " which Mr. Johnson at once gave 
them in Mr. Hanson, a tradesman residing also in New 
Bond Street. Mr. Hanson, on being applied to, said that 
Mr. Johnson had bought goods of him to the amount of 
^70, and had paid ready money. Messrs. Elliott and 
Davis were perfectly satisfied, and professed their readiness 


to execute Mr. Johnson's orders. Mr. Johnson's orders to the 
upholsterers were to " let him have everything suitable for a 
man of ,£500 a year, an amount which he possessed in estates 
in Yorkshire, independent of the allowance made to him by 
his father, who had been an eminent attorney in Birming- 
ham, but had retired upon a fortune of ,£2,000 a year." 
Elliott and Davis took Mr. Johnson at his word, and com- 
pleted the order in style j then, about the middle of January 
the junior partner started for Winchelsea, and took the bill 
with him. Like a prudent man he put up at the inn, and 
made inquiries about his debtor. Nothing could be more 
satisfactory. Mr. Johnson lived with the best people of the 
county j Mr. Johnson went everywhere, and was a most 
affable, liberal, pleasant gentleman. So when Mr. Davis 
saw Mr. Johnson, and that affable gentleman begged him, 
as a personal favour, to defer the presentation of his little 
account until March, he at once concurred, and returned to 
London, to give Elliott a glowing account of his reception, 
and to inspire him with a certain amount of jealousy that 
he — Elliott — had not taken the account himself. March 
came, but Johnson's money came not : instead thereof a 
letter from Johnson, stating that his rents would be due on 
the 25th of that month, that he did not like to hurry his 
tenants, but that he would be in town the first or second 
week in April, and discharge the bill. Reading this epistle, 
Elliott looked stern, and was secretly glad he had not been 
to Winchelsea ; while Davis, glancing over it, was secretly 
sorry he had said so much. 

While the partners were in this* state, in the second 
week of April, no money having in the meantime been 
forthcoming, enter to them a neighbour, Mr. Timothy 
Lucas, jeweller, who gives them good-day, and then wants 
to know their opinion of one Mr. Johnson, of Winchelsea. 
"Why?" asked the terrified upholsterers. Simply because 
he had given their firm as reference to the jeweller, who 


had already sold him, on credit, goods to the amount of 
^130, and had just executed an order for ,£800 worth of 
jewellery, which was then packed and ready to be sent to 
Winchelsea. Now consternation reigned in New Bond 
Street. Johnson's debts to Elliott and Davis were above 
,£370; to Lucas above ^130. Immediate steps must be 
adopted ; so writs were at once taken out, and the London 
tradesmen, accompanied by a sheriff's officer, set out to 
Winchelsea to meet their defrauder. 

Early on Monday morning, the 15th of April, as they 
were passing through Rye, on their way, they observed 
Mr. Johnson and his intimate friend Mr. Samuel Watson 
coming towards them on horseback, escorting a chariot, 
within which were two ladies, and behind which was a 
groom on horseback. Davis, the trusting, conscious of 
having temporarily nourished a snake in his upholstering 
bosom, pointed out Johnson to the sheriff's officer, who 
immediately rode up to arrest him, and was as immediately 
knocked down by Johnson with the butt-end of his riding- 
whip. The tradesmen rushed to their officer's assistance, 
but Johnson and Watson beat them off; and Watson, 
drawing a pistol, swore he would blow their brains out. 
This so checked the upholstering ardour, that Johnson and 
Watson managed to escape, returned in great haste to 
Winchelsea, where they packed their plate and valuables, 
and made off at full speed across country, leaving direc- 
tions for the ladies to follow them to London in the 

Clearly the London tradesmen were nonplussed ; clearly 
the thing for them to do was, to consult with the mayor 
and principal tradesmen of the town; clearly the place for 
the consultation was the coffee-room of the Nag's Head. 
In a corner of this coffee-room lay a ne'er-do-weel, a pot- 
house loiterer, a tap-room frequenter, a man with the repu- 
tation of having once had brains which he had muddled 


away with incessant brandy-and-water. " Jack " he was 
called ; and if he had one peculiarity besides brandy-and- 
water, which was scarcely a peculiarity in Rye, it was his 
intense interest in all criminal matters. So, the tradesmen 
talked, and Jack listened, until they had given a description 
of the person of Mr. William Johnson, when Jack went 
away to the den which he called home, and, returning, 
requested to hear Mr. Johnson's appearance again described. 
Mr. Davis, the junior partner, looking upon Jack as a 
harmless lunatic, complied with the request. Jack gave 
a yell of delight, and, producing from under his ragged coat 
the hand-bill issued from the public office, Bow Street, 
speedily showed that Mr. Johnson, of Winchelsea, and 
George Weston, the mail-robber, were one and the same 

No sooner proved than action taken. Off goes an 
express to the post-office. Mr. John Clark is torn from the 
bosom of his family and summoned to the public office, 
whence he despatches trusty satellites, with the result that 
Mr. Johnson, with his intimate friend Mr. Watson, are 
traced from various places to an hotel in Noel Street, near 
Wardour Street, Soho, where they slept on Tuesday night. 
Early on Wednesday morning, indefatigable Mr. John 
Clark, duly apprised, is at the door of the Noel Street hotel, 
relates to the landlord his errand, and requests the land- 
lord's assistance ; which the landlord refuses. Clark sends 
a bystander off to Bow Street for assistance, and the land- 
lord proceeds to caution his guests, who immediately take 
alarm, and come slouching downstairs with their hands in 
their pockets. Clark, who is standing at the door, does not 
like their attitude, thinks it safest to let them pass, but as 
soon as they are fairly in the street, gives the alarm, " Stop 
thief ! Stop mail robbers ! " Out rushes a crowd in hot 
pursuit — pursuit which is temporarily checked by Messrs. 
Johnson and Watson each producing a brace of pistols, and 


firing three shots at their followers ; but at last they are 
both captured. 

So far my yellow-leaved, fly-blown, faded brief-sheets, 
which tell me, moreover, that George Weston and Joseph 
"Weston are the Johnson and Watson of the Winchelsea 
drama ; that they will be proved to be brothers ; that 
George Weston will be proved to be the highwayman, and 
Joseph the receiver ; and that there is a perfect cloud of 
witnesses ready to prove every indictment. I suppose they 
did prove it ; for, turning back to the first outside folio, I 
find, in a different handwriting and a later ink, " Guilty " — 
to be hanged at Tyburn — May 3 ; and later still I see an 
ink-cross, which, from official experience, I know to be a 
record that the last memorandum had been carried out, and 
that the papers might be put by. 



At six o'clock on Monday morning, the 29th of January, 
1827, the Dover mail-coach, mud-bespattered and travel- 
stained, pulled up before the General Post Office in Lombard 
Street, and the official porters in attendance flung them- 
selves upon it, and dragged from it the receptacle for letters 
(then containing correspondence from France, from foreign 
countries transmitting through France, and from Dover 
itself), which, in official language, was known as the mail- 
portmanteau. The guard, cold, stiff, and tired, tumbled off 
his perch, stamped his feet on the pavement, yawned, 
stretched himself, and literally " lent a hand " towards the 
removal of the mail-portmanteau by just touching it in its 
descent with his four fingers ; the coachman, also cold, stiff, 
and tired, let his benumbed left hand give to the motion of 
the four jaded horses, which, dank and steaming, stretched 
their necks, and yawed about with their heads, and shook 
their bodies, rattling their harness in a dismal manner. 
All the passengers had dismounted long ago, the guard had 
stepped inside the office to settle some little matter in con- 
nection with the way-bill, the few stragglers always waiting 
about to see the coaches come in had been cheaply edified 
and were moving off, the coachman had jerked the horses' 
heads into the air preparatory to walking them round to the 


stable, when a pale-faced clerk with a pen behind his ear 
came rushing out of the little side-door, tumbling over the 
guard, and exclaiming, " Hold hard, for God's sake ! The 
mail has been robbed !" 

When the two official porters carried the mail-port- 
manteau into the Foreign Office of the General Post Office, 
they placed it before the clerk waiting to receive it. There 
was little time to count and sort and despatch the letters ; 
the clerk knew that in order to get through his work he 
must have quick eyes and nimble fingers ; and in a minute 
he had unbuckled the straps of the square portmanteau 
and thrown them back, preparatory to opening the two 
compartments, when in each of the compartments he saw a 
long cut, as with a knife, large enough to admit of the 
enclosed bags being drawn out. Rather staggered at this, 
the clerk hastily turned all the bags out on to the floor, 
noticing as he did so that several of them were cut and 
frayed. Then he looked for the Paris letter-bill, which he 
found in due course, and read as follows : " No. 203. 
Direction Ge'nerale des Postes de France. Depart de 
Paris pour Londres, ce Vendredi, 26 Janvier, annee 1827. 
Le contenu de votre derniere de'peche du 24 me a e'te exacte- 
ment distribue, et ulterieurement expe'die pour sa desti- 
nation : Fadministration vous demande le meme soin pour 
le contenu de la presente du recu, de laquelle vous voudrez 
bien lui donner avis." Then followed a list of the bags 
and their weights, from France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, 
Switzerland, Germany, and Turkey. The clerk carefully 
compared the bill in his hand with the bags lying before 
him, and instantly found that the Italian bag, the heaviest, 
and probably therefore the most valuable, was missing. 

The pale-faced clerk, rushing out and communicating 
this fact to the coachman and overturned guard (when he 
was picked up) of the Dover mail-coach, had the satisfaction 
of seeing their rubicund countenances turn to his own hue ; 


but with that he was obliged to remain content, as they 
merely invoked different species of condemnation on various 
portions of their anatomy if they knew anything about it, 
or could tell how it occurred. So the Dover mail-coach 
went round to its stables. That night, when the return 
Dover mail left the Elephant and Castle, it had for one 
of its inside passengers the solicitor to the General Post 
Office j a man of clear head and prompt action, to whom 
the investigation of delicate matters connected with the 
postal service was confided. To him, comfortably installed 
at the Ship Hotel, came the postmaster of Calais and the 
captain of the Henri Quatre, the French packet by which 
the mail had been brought over. After a little consultation, 
these gentlemen were clearly of opinion that the mail 
arrived intact at Calais, was sent thence and arrived intact 
at Dover, was sent thence intact, and was violated on the 
road to London. Tending to the proof of this was a 
special circumstance. When the mail arrived at Dover, 
it was so unusually heavy as to induce a Custom-house 
officer who saw it landed to regard it with suspicion ; so he 
accompanied the men who bore it, from the French vessel 
to the packet-agent's office, that he might see it opened, 
and be satisfied that it contained nothing prohibited. The 
portmanteau was unbuckled and its compartments were 
thrown open in the presence of this officer, of Sir Thomas 
Coates the packet-agent, and of three other persons, all of 
whom were certain that the compartments of the bags 
were in a perfect state, and that the bags were then uncut. 

So far so good. In such cases proving a negative is 
the next best thing to a positive proof, because it shuts the 
gate and prevents your wandering in the wrong direction. 
So the solicitor to the Post Office, journeying back to 
London, and taking up the threads of his case on the way, 
stopped at Canterbury, made a few casual inquiries, pricked 
up his ears, opened a regular official investigation, and 


received what he believed to be very important information 
For it appeared that on the Sunday night of the robbery, 
four inside and three outside passengers left Dover by the 
mail-coach for London. The four insides were booked for 
London ; one of the outsides was booked for Chatham, 
another for Canterbury or as much farther towards London 
as he pleased, the third outside intimated that he should 
only go as far as Canterbury. When the mail reached the 
Fountain Inn, Canterbury, the outside passenger who was 
booked as far towards London as he pleased, got down and 
paid his fare, stating that he should go no farther ; the 
passenger who was booked for Canterbury alighted at 
the same time ; and the two walked away from the coach 

One of the mail-coach proprietors, who resided at 

Canterbury, happened to be looking at the mail while it was 

standing at the door on the evening in question, and 

observed two men, dressed as if they had just left the coach, 

crossing the street. They stood consulting together for a 

few minutes, and, after walking about fifty yards, stopped 

again, when a third man joined them. They all conversed 

for about a minute, and then separated ; two of them went 

down the street on the road to London, the mail passed 

them, and almost immediately afterwards they returned up 

the street in the direction of the Rose Hotel. The third 

man went into the coach-office, booked himself as an out 

side passenger for London, and went on by the mail. 

Shortly after the mail passed through Canterbury that night, 

two strangers, coming from the direction in which the mail 

had gone, entered the Rose Hotel, and ordered a chaise to 

London. On being asked whether they would change 

horses at Ospringe or Sittingbourn, they said it was 

immaterial so long as they got on quickly. The waiter who 

showed them into a sitting-room noticed they had a small 

bag with them. They ordered some brandy-and-water and 


shut themselves in — in the room, not the bag. After the 
lapse of a quarter of an hour the waiter, suddenly opening 
the door to say that the chaise was ready, perceived various 
letters (at least twenty or thirty), and several small paper 
packets, lying on the table; the men were feeling the letters, 
holding them- up to the candles, and otherwise examining 
their contents. They appeared much confused when the 
waiter entered the room, crammed the letters into their 
pockets, paid their bill, got into the chaise, and at once set 
off for town. 

The thieves were traced through different stages, until it 
was ascertained that they had been set down between six 
and seven o'clock on Monday morning near a watch-box in 
the Kent Road, and that, having paid the post-boy, they 
then walked off towards Surrey Square. 

So much notice was taken of the men at the Rose Hotel, 
and at the places where they stopped to change horses and 
take refreshment on the road to town, that a description of 
their persons was procured, and the police communicated 
with. On hearing the description, the police at once con- 
sidered that it implicated one Tom Partridge and one of 
his associates, who had been concerned in most of the 
coach-robberies which had recently been committed ; and 
private information having been obtained that these were 
really the men who had violated the mail, warrants were 
obtained, and Tom Partridge was "wanted." After a search 
of many weeks Tom Partridge was apprehended, and, on 
the examination which he underwent at Bow Street was 
distinctly identified as one of the persons who booked an 
outside place at Dover by the mail of the evening in 
question, and as one of the men who were seen on the same 
evening at the Rose Hotel examining letters and packets 
which lay open before them. On this evidence Mr. Tom 
Partridge was fully committed for trial. 

From March till August Mr. Tom Partridge lay in 


prison : immediately on his committal, he had strongly- 
denied his guilt, and had made application to be admitted 
to bail; but his request was refused. On the 21st of August, 
1827, the assizes for the Home Circuit being then held in 
Maidstone, there was more than usual excitement round the 
old court-house of that town. Very many witnesses w r ere to 
be examined on the part of the Crown, among them some 
French gentlemen, clerks in the Paris Post Office, and 
officers of the packet, who had been staying at the principal 
hotel of Maidstone for some days, and at the expense of 
the prosecution ; who had lived very freely, and had winked 
at the cherry-cheeked Kentish damsels in a manner which 
had caused some of those young girls to clench their fists 
and hint at giving " furriners " that dread blow known as a 
" smack o' th' face." And above all else productive of 
interest was the prevalent belief that the whole case was one 
of extraordinary circumstantial evidence ; that it would 
turn upon the nicest question of personal identity ; and that 
the prisoner intended bringing forward undeniable proofs of 
his innocence. 

So the cramped little court was crowded from floor to 
ceiling when the learned judge took his seat on the bench. 
Immediately below him sat the Post-Office solicitor, out- 
wardly bland, but inwardly anxious : betraying his anxiety 
when there seemed any hitch in his case by repeated appli- 
cation to a massive gold snuff-box. From time to time he 
conferred with the Crown counsel on his right hand, and 
occasionally answered questions put to him by two old 
gentlemen on his left, London merchants and bankers. 
More than the average number of counsel (none appearing 
for the prisoner though) at the little green table appropriated 
to them, and though sitting with wigs cocked awry and 
employing themselves generally in the mastication of quill 
pens, yet paying more than usual attention to a case in 
which they were not concerned. All round the court, 



wherever permissible, stood the eager public, stout broad- 
shouldered yeomen, buxom women, ostlers, and inn-yard 
loiterers, with occasionally among them the thin sallow 
face of a London " professional," probably a friend of the 
prisoner, contrasting strongly with the acres of broad 
healthy red cheeks by which it was surrounded. The 
prisoner himself in the dock fronting my lord the judge, a 
middle-sized, stoutly-built man, with a queer humorous face, 
lighted by a twinkling arch blue eye. Not a bit daunted, 
but apparently rather pleased by the universal gaze, he 
stood leaning over the front of the dock, playing with the 
bits of herbs which custom still retained there, keenly 
observant of all that transpired, but apparently fully trusting 
in his own resources. 

The judge settled himself in his seat, the usher de- 
manded "Silence" at a moment when a pin might have 
been heard to drop, each juryman threw every scrap of 
intellect at his command into his countenance, the Post- 
Office solicitor took an enormous pinch of snuff, and Mr. 
Serjeant Strongbow, retained on behalf of the Crown, rose 
to address the court. He told the story briefly, pretty 
much as it has been here stated, and proceeded to call his 
witnesses. First came the French gentlemen. M. Etienne 
Bonheur, comptroller at the foreign office of the General 
Post Office, Paris, proved that he made up the mail for 
London on the evening of Friday, the 26th of January, that 
there was an Italian bag, that he handed them to M. Avier 
to despatch. M. Avier, M. Gustave d'Ortell, postmaster of 
Calais, Captain Margot, of the Henri Quatre steamer, John 
Nash, the Custom-house officer at Dover, and Sir T. Coates, 
the packet-agent, all deposed to the despatch and receipt of 
the mail in due course. Rather dull work this. So the 
judge thought, leaning back and biting his nails ; so the 
jury thought, listening in bucolic wonder to the translation 
of the French witnesses' evidence by the interpreter, but 


bored when it came out in English a mere matter of formal 
routine connected with the transmission of a mail ; so the 
prisoner thought, as he shifted from leg to leg, and smiled 
slightly once or twice, looking on with great unconcern. 
Booking-office keeper at Dover, mail-coachman, coach- 
proprietor at Canterbury, waiter and chambermaid at the 
Rose Hotel, waiters and ostlers all along the road, up they 
came one after the other, kissed the book, looked at the 
prisoner in the dock, and declared that he was the man 
who figured in their recollection as connected with the 
events of the night of the 28th of January. At the conclu- 
sion of this evidence, the court adjourns for refreshment ; 
judge goes out at a side-door ; prisoner wipes his forehead ; 
and sits down by his guardian turnkey; Post-Office solicitor 
takes a pinch of snuff, and receives congratulations of 
London bankers on manner in which evidence has been got 
together; Serjeant Strongbow says, " Seems clear case," and 
commences sandwich. 

After an interval of twenty minutes, the court resumed, 
Serjeant Strongbow intimated that the case for the prosecu- 
tion was concluded, and the prisoner, called upon for his 
defence, humbly prayed that a written paper which he had 
prepared might be read aloud. The court assenting, the 
paper was handed to an officer, and was read aloud, to the 
following effect : In the first place, the prisoner denied any 
participation in the crime of which he was accused, and 
stated that in the month of January last he was travelling 
with a person of the name of Trotter, on business, in the 
counties of Somerset and Devon. That on Monday, the 
22nd January, he and Trotter arrived at the George Inn, 
Glastonbury, kept by Mr. Booth. That they left The 
George the same day, and went to Mr. Baker's, who keeps 
an inn at Somerton, and thence in Mr. Baker's gig to 
Yeovil. That the prisoner, taking a fancy to the horse in 
this gig, sent word back to Mr. Baker, that if he had a 

Q 2 


mind to sell it, he (prisoner) would meet him at the George 
Inn, Glastonbury, on the ball-night, the Thursday following. 
That on this Thursday night the prisoner and Trotter duly 
arrived at The George, bought Baker's horse for twelve 
guineas twelve shillings, borrowing the silver money from 
Booth, tried it on the Friday morning, and left it with 
Booth to get it into better condition. That he (prisoner) 
and Trotter left Glastonbury at half-past eleven on Saturday 
morning, the 27th, by the Exeter coach, which they quitted 
on the road about five miles from Tiverton, and walked on to 
that town. That at Tiverton they put up at the Three 
Tuns Hotel, and being cold, they called for and had some 
hot egg-beer on their arrival ; and that while at this hotel, 
having a wish to procure some clotted cream, they inquired 
of the waiter how they should carry it, when the waiter 
recommended them to have two tin cans for the purpose, 
which cans were procured and filled accordingly. That 
they stayed at The Three Tuns during Saturday the 27th, 
and Sunday the ?8th ; and left on Monday the 29th, by the 
Bristol coach to Bridgewater. 

This statement of the prisoner's having been read aloud, 
he was called upon to corroborate it by evidence. There- 
upon he summoned and produced in the witness-box, one 
after the other, Booth, the landlord of The George at 
Glastonbury ; Baker, of whom he bought the horse ; Ellis, 
the waiter at The Three Tuns at Tiverton, who produced 
the book containing the entries of the refreshment had by 
the prisoner — among them the hot egg-beer, the clotted 
cream, and the tins for carrying it ; and the chambermaid 
at the same inn. All of these persons exactly corroborated 
the prisoner's statement, and all of them swore positively to 
his identity. After the evidence of the last witness the 
judge interposed and asked the Crown counsel whether he 
desired to press his case ? Serjeant Strongbow turned to 
the solicitor, who, with a pinch of snuff suspended 


in the air, was gravely shaking his head, when several of the 
jury expressed themselves satisfied that the witnesses for 
the prosecution were mistaken, and that the prisoner was 
not one of the persons who had committed the robbery. 
"Whereupon a verdict of acquittal was recorded ; and with 
a smiling face and a bow to the court, Mr. Tom Partridge 
walked out of the dock a free man. 

Some two years after this trial, which gave rise to a vast 
amount of wonder as to how the government could have 
been so mistaken as to prosecute an innocent man, the 
Fost-Ofnce solicitor, wending his way quietly along Bishops- 
gate Street to catch the Norwood coach at the Flower-pot 
Inn, was brushed against by a man going into a public- 
house, and looking up, saw that the man was Tom Partridge. 
Now, in Mr. Solicitor's leisure moments, which were few 
enough, he had often thought of Tom Partridge, and had 
puzzled his brain ineffectually for a solution of Tom 
Partridge's mystery. So now, having a few minutes to 
spare, he first satisfied himself that the man who had 
brushed against him was the veritable Tom, and then 
crossed the street and took a careful survey of the public- 
house into which Tom had vanished. As he stood looking 
up at the house Tom came out of the street-door, looked 
up, and called " Hi ! " whereupon, from an upper window 
of the house, appeared the head and shoulders of another 
Tom, an exact reproduction of the original Tom, middle- 
sized, stoutly built, with a queer humorous face lighted by 
a twinkling arch blue eye. Mr. Solicitor rubbed his eyes 
and took a stinging pinch of snuff; but when he looked 
again, there were the two Tom Partridges, exactly alike, 
one on the pavement in the street, the other looking out of 
the third-floor window. Then both disappeared into the 
house, whence presently emerging both by the street-door, 
one pointed to some distant object, and the other started 


off up the street, the first returning into the public-house ; 
each so exactly like the other, that, when they separated, 
they looked like halves of one body. 

Mr. Solicitor took a short joyous pinch, rubbed his 
hands slowly, and went off to the Flower-pot Inn. That 
evening he had several extra glasses of a peculiarly fine 
brown sherry which he only drank on special occasions ; 
and Mrs. Solicitor remarked to the Misses Solicitor that she 
thought father must have had a very good case on some- 
where, he was in such spirits. Next morning Mr. Solicitor 
was closeted for half an hour with one of the heads of the 
Post-Office department who had the official conduct of 
criminal cases ; and shortly afterwards a confidential mes- 
senger was despatched with a letter to William Barker, 
otherwise known as Conkey Barker, otherwise as Bill the 
Nobbier, otherwise as sundry and divers flash personages. 

That evening Mr. La Trappe, of the General Post Office, 
sat in the study of his private house in Brunswick Square. 
On the desk before him stood his despatch-box, a cutting 
from a newspaper, a lawyer's brief with some official tape- 
tied papers. A case-bottle of brandy, a tumbler, and a 
water-bottle, stood on the corner of the desk. As the 
clock struck eight, the servant entered and announced " a 
man." The man being admitted proved very velveteeny, 
slightly stably, and very bashful. 

"Sit down, Barker," said Mr. La Trappe, pointing to a 
chair. " I sent for you, because I discovered that the last 
time you were here you left something behind you " 

" The devil ! " burst out Mr. Barker. 

" Oh, don't fear," said Mr. La Trappe, smiling gently, 
and looking at him with a peculiar glance, "it was only 
this letter. You needn't open it; you'll find that it's all 

Mr. Barker took the letter with some misgiving ; then a 
light gradually dawning on him he crumpled it softly in his 


palm ; a responsive crinkling of crisp enclosure fell upon 
his ear, and he chuckled as he said : " All right, sir ; 
I'm fly I" 

" Mix yourself a glass of grog, Barker," said Mr. La 
Trappe, pointing to the case-bottle. " You've entirely left 
the profession, I believe ? " 

" Entirely, sir." 

" And are leading an honest life ? " 

" Reg'lar slap-up 'spectable mechanic," said Barker. 

" I want a little information from you ; it can't hurt 
anybody, as the affair is bygone and blown. Do you recol- 
lect the robbery of the Dover mail ? " 

"/should think so," said Barker, grinning very much. 

" Ah ! " said Mr. La Trappe. " We tried a man 
named Tom Partridge for it, and he was acquitted on an 
alibi. He did it, of course ? " 

" Of course," said Barker. 

" Ah ! " said Mr. La Trappe again, with perfect calm- 
ness ; " he has a double, who went into Somerset and 
Devon at the same time, and worked the oracle for him ? " 

" Well ! How did you find that out ? " 

" Never mind, Barker, how I found it out. What I 
want to know is — who is the double ? " 

" Tom Partridge's brother — old Sam, one year older nor 
Tom, and as like him as two peas. It was the best rig o' 
the sort as ever was rigged. Old Sam had been out in 
Ameriky all his life, and when he first came back, every- 
one was talking about his likeness to Tom ; you couldn't 
know 'em apart. Fiddy, the fence, thought something 
might be made of this, and he planned the whole job — the 
egg-hot, and the cream, the tins, and the horse what he 
bought. Tom's got that horse now, to drive in his shay 
cart on Sundays, and he calls him ' Walker.' " 

" Walker ! " said Mr. La Trappe ; " what does he call 
him Walker for ? " 


"Walker's a slang name for a postman," explained 
Mr. Barker, in great delight. "Worn't it per-rime?" 

"Oh!" said Mr. La Trappe, with great gravity, "I 
perceive. One more question, Barker ; how was the 
robbery effected ? The interior of the portmanteau could 
not have been cut unless it had been unbuckled and the 
compartments thrown open, and they could not possibly 
have done all that on the top of the coach. Besides, the 
guard stated he had fastened it in a very peculiar manner 
at Dover, and that the fastenings were in exactly the same 
state when he opened it in London." 

" Ah ! That was the best game of the lot," said 
Mr. Barker. "The job was done while the portmanteau 
was in the agent's office at Dover, and where it lay from 
three o'clock on Sunday afternoon till between seven and 
eight in the evening. Tom Partridge and his pal they 
opened the street-door with a skeleton key ; there was no 
one there, and they had plenty of time to work it." 

"And Tom Partridge's pal was ? " 

" Ah, that I can't say," said Mr. Barker, looking straight 
into the air. " I never heard tell o' his name." 

" Thanks, Barker ; that'll do," said Mr. La Trappe, 
rising. " Good-night ! You've done no harm. I shall 
know where to find you if ever I want you again." 

About a twelvemonth afterwards that slap-up respectable 
mechanic, Mr. William Barker, was hanged for horse- 
stealing. Just before his execution he sent for Mr. La 
Trappe, and confessed that he had been Tom Partridge's 
accomplice in the robbery of the Dover mail. Mr. La 
Trappe thanked him for the information, but bore it like a 
man who could bear a surprise. 



He was not handsome — at least in the common acceptation 
of the term. He had a speckly muzzle, and a hanging jowl, 
and rather watery eyes, and short crop ears. His legs were 
horribly bowed, and his tail curled over his back like the 
end of a figure of nine. He was a morose beast, and of 
most uncertain temper. He would rush out to a stranger 
at the gate with every demonstration of welcome, would 
leap up and bark round him, and then would run behind 
and bite him in the calves. He was the terror of the 
tradespeople : he loathed the butcher ; he had a deadly 
hatred for the fishmonger's boy ; and, when I complained 
to the post-office of the non-receipt in due course of a letter 
from my aunt's legal adviser advising me to repair at once 
to the old lady's death-bed (owing to which non-receipt I 
was cut out of my aunt's will), I was answered that " the 
savage character of my dog — a circumstance with which the 
department could not interfere — prevented the letter-carrier 
from the due performance of his functions after nightfall." 
Still I loved Pincher — still I love him ! What though my 
trousers-ends were frayed into hanging strips by his teeth ; 
what though my slippers are a mass of chewed pulp ; what 
though he has tousled all the corners of the manuscript of 
my work on Logarithms — shall I reproach him now that he 
is lost to me ? Never ! 


I saw him last, three mornings ago, leisurely straying 
round the garden with the strap of the baby's shoe hanging 
out of his mouth, and with a knowing wag of his tail, as 
much as to show me how he was enjoying himself. I 
remonstrated with him on the shoe question, and he seemed 
somewhat touched for a moment ; but suddenly catching 
sight of a predatory cat on the wall, he galloped off without 
further parley. I watched the cat scuttle up a tree ; I heard 
Pincher growling angrily at its base ; the noise of the milk- 
man's boots scrunching the gravel attracted his attention. 
He darted off, and was lost to me for ever. There was a 
fiendish grin on the housemaid's face when she announced 
to me that Pincher wasn't nowhere to be found. Visions 
of henceforth unworried stocking-heels, unsnapped-at ankles, 
rose before that damsel's mind as she broke the news ; and 
she smiled as she said they'd looked everywheres, they had, 
and nothin' wasn't to be seen. I was not crushed by the 
intelligence. I knew my dog's extensive visiting-list, and 
thought that, finding he had overstayed his time, he had 
probably accepted the friendly hospitality of half a kennel, 
and was then engaged in baying the moon, and conducing 
to the sleeplessness of a neighbourhood unaccustomed to 
his vocal powers. But, as I lay in bed in the morning, I 
missed the various little dramas — the principal characters 
played by Pincher and the tradespeople — of which I had 
long been the silent audience. The butcher's boy — a fierce 
and beefy youth, who openly defied the dog, and waved 
him off with hurlings of his basket and threatenings of his 
feet, accompanied by growls of " Git out, yer beast ! " — now 
entered silently ; the baker's apprentice, a mild and fari- 
naceous lad — who proffered to Pincher the raspings of black 
loaves, and usually endeavoured to propitiate his enemy by 
addressing him as " Poor fellow ! " — now entered silently ; 
the fishmonger — who generally made one wild scuttle from 
the garden-gate to the kitchen-entrance, and upon whose 


track Pincher usually hung as the wolves hung upon 
Mazeppa's — now walked slowly up the path, and whistled. 
Then I knew that Pincher was gone indeed ! 

I engaged the services of an unintelligible crier, and had 
a description of my dog bellowed round the neighbourhood. 
I brought the printing art into play, to portray Pincher's 
various attributes, and all the palings and posts within the 
circle of two miles burst out with an eruption of placards, 
of which the words " Lost " and " Dog " were, without the 
aid of a powerful microscope, the only legible portion. I 
concocted an advertisement for The Times newspaper. I 
patiently waited the result of these various schemes. They 
had results, I allow. I received at least twenty letters from 
sympathising persons, who stated that in the event of not 
recovering my lost favourite, they were in a position to pro- 
vide another in his place. I suppose that on the evening 
of the day on which The Times issued the advertisement, 
at least five-and-twenty pairs of boots had printed themselves 
off on my dining-room drugget, which, being red in colour 
and fluffy in texture, is singularly capable of retaining a clear 
impression. The boots, in every instance, belonged to 
short-haired stably gentlemen in large white overcoats, from 
the inner pockets of which they produced specimens of 
dogs — ugly and morose indeed, but none of them my 

I need not say that my intimate friends came out nobly 
under these circumstances. Jephson, who wore check 
trousers of a vivid pattern which had always aroused 
Pincher's ire, thanked fortune that " the infernal beast was 
got rid of somehow." Pooley, who, labouring under a 
belief that all dogs were intended for swimmers, had once 
tried to throw Pincher into the Hampstead ponds, and had 
had his hand bitten to the bone for his pains, hoped that 
" the brute had been made into sausages." Blinkhorn, who 
was of a facetious turn, was sure that Pincher had been sewn 


up in the skin of some deceased dog of fabulous beauty, 
and sold by a man in Regent Street to some old dowager. 
Hallmarke was the only one who gave me the least con- 
solation. " Perhaps he's been picked up by some benevolent 
person," he said, "and sent to the Home. Go to the Home 
and see." "The Home? what Home?" I asked. "For 
lost dogs, at Holloway. Go and see if he's there." 

On further sifting this somewhat vague information, I 
found that there was a place where lost and starving dogs 
found in the street were temporarily received and cared 
for ; and that this place was open to the visits of the public. 
I determined to repair thither at once. It is a good thing 
for the dogs that they are sent to the Home, for assuredly 
they would never find their own intricate way there. On 
being landed from the Favourite omnibus, I made several 
inquiries, and at last found myself in Hollingsworth Street : 
a pleasant locality, which would have been pleasanter had 
there been less mud and more pavement. 

I looked around, but saw no sign of dogginess. At last 
I succeeded in fixing a red-faced matron who was cuffing 
her offspring, and of her I inquired, as civilly as might be, 
if she knew where the Dogs' Home was situated ? Follow- 
ing this lady's directions, I crossed the road, and soon 
found myself at the gates, when a sharp little lad, so soon 
as he heard my business, ushered me into the Home. 

A big yard, at the opposite end of which I see a block 
of kennels, with a wirework fenced show-place outside, very 
like that appropriated to the monkeys at the Zoological 
Gardens. In this a crowd of dogs, who no sooner see the 
boy accompanying me than they set up a tremendous howl- 
ing. Not a painful yelping, nothing suggestive of hunger or 
physical suffering ; but simply that under-toned howl which 
means, " Take me out and give me a run." Dogs of all 
common kinds here, but nothing very valuable. "Mongrel 
puppy, and whelp, and curs of low degree." Big dogs, half- 


mastiff, half-sheepdog, bastard Scotch and English terriers, 
in all instances with a cross of wrong blood in them ; one 
or two that ought to have been beagles, but seemed to have 
gone to the bad ; several lurchers looking as if they ought 
to have had a poacher's heels to follow, and a grand 
gathering of the genuine English cur: that cheery, dissipated, 
dishonest scoundrel, who betrays his villany in the shiftiness 
of his eye, and the limpness of his tail : who is so often 
lame, and so perpetually taking furtive snatches of sleep in 
doorways : a citizen of the world, and yet a single-hearted 
brute, who will follow anyone for miles on the strength of 
a kind word, and who, when kicked off, turns round 
philosophically and awaits some better fortune. 

Comfortably housed are all these dogs, with plenty to 
eat and drink, and a large open space where they are 
periodically turned out for exercise. I asked whether the 
neighbours did not raise strong objections to the proximity 
of the Home ? I was told that at first all kinds of legal 
persecutions were threatened, but that as time passed, the 
ill feeling died away, and now no complaints were made. 
The dogs, who are invariably rescued from starvation, are 
so worn out on first reaching their new abode, that they 
invariably sleep for many hours as soon as they have taken 
food, and, on recovering, seem already accustomed to their 
quarters, and consequently indisposed to whine. All the 
dogs of any standing look plump and well fed ; but there 
are two or three new-comers with lacklustre eyes and very 
painful anatomical developments. I carefully scrutinised 
them all. There were about eighty. Alas, Pincher was net 
among them. He might come in, the boy said ; there was 
many pleacemen bringin' in what they'd found in the night ; 
my dog might come in yet; hadn't I better see the lady and 
talk to her ? I found " the lady " was the originator of the 
Home, living closely adjacent ; and from her I obtained all 
the particulars of her amiable hobby. 


The Home for lost and starving dogs has now been in 
existence more than three years. The establishment was 
started by the present honorary secretary : a lady who had 
for some time been in the habit of collecting such starving 
animals as she found in her own neighbourhood, and paying 
a person a weekly sum for their keep. After explaining her 
plan in the columns of one of the daily newspapers, she 
received warm assistance, and the co-operation of the 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals having 
been obtained, the Home entered upon its present extended 
sphere of usefulness, and boasts a large number of annual 
subscribers. Its object will be gathered from the following 

Rules and Regulations. 

1. Any dog found and brought to the Home, if applied for by the 
owner, will be given up to its master upon payment of the expenses of 
its keep. 

2. Any dogs lost by Subscribers and brought to the Home will be 
given up free of all expense. 

3. Any dog brought to the Home, not identified and claimed within 
fourteen days from the time of its admission, will, by order of the Com- 
mittee, be sold to pay expenses, or be otherwise disposed of. 

4. To prevent dog-stealing, no reward will be given to persons 
bringing dogs to the Home. The Committee would hope that, to 
persons of ordinary humanity, the consciousness of having performed a 
merciful action would be sufficient recompense. 

5. Accommodation is now made for the reception of dogs belonging 
to Ladies or Gentlemen who may wish to have care taken of them 
during their absence from home. 

Ladies and Gentlemen finding lost or starving dogs in the street, at 
a distance from their own residences, are recommended to arrange with 
some poor person, for a specified remuneration, to convey them either 
to the " Home " itself, or to a receiving-house. The money should on 
no account be given to the bearer of the dog beforehand, or only on 
production of a certificate in this form : 

Temporary Home for Lost and Starving Dogs. 

The Bearer has brought dog to the Home. 

, Keeper. 



It is scarcely necessary to say that when the scheme was 
first mooted it shared the fate of many other good schemes, 
and received violent opposition. People who would have 
left the wounded traveller and passed by on the other side, 
declaimed loudly against showing humanity to dogs, while 
human creatures were starving ; and some humorists plea- 
santly asked whether there was to be a home for lost and 
starving elephants. The Home has survived even these 
sarcasms, and unpretendingly does good ; it is not very 
important in its benevolence, but as no sparrow falls to 
the ground without an all-wise supervision, it may be 
granted that the charity which provides food and shelter 
for a starving dog is worthy of approbation. The place 
does good in its sphere. To do some good in any sphere 
is much better than to do none. 

Pincher returned : not from the Home for Lost Dogs, 
he knew better than so far to jeopardise his social standing. 
He returned with a ruffled coat, a torn ear, a fierceness of 
eye which bespoke recent trouble. I afterwards learned that 
he had been a principal in a combat held in the adjoining 
parish, where he acquitted himself with a certain amount of 
honour, and was pinning his adversary, when a rustic person 
from a farm broke in upon the ring and kicked both the 
combatants out of it. This ignominy was more than Pincher 
could bear ; he flung himself upon the rustic's leg, and 
brought him to the ground : then fled, and remained hidden 
in a wood until hunger compelled him to come home. We 
have interchanged no communication since, but regard each 
other with sulky dignity. I perceive that he intends to 
remain obdurate until I make the first advances. 



" I only know two sorts of boys — mealy boys and beef- 
faced boys ! " said Mr. Grimwig when Mr. Brownlow was 
vaunting the excellence of young Oliver Twist. But then it 
must be recollected that Mr. Grimwig was an old bachelor, 
and hated children. Two sorts of boys ! I know twenty — 
two hundred sorts ! First of all there is your "regular boy," 
who goes to a public school and is now at home for the holi- 
days. He is about twelve years old, stout and firmly-built, 
ruddy -faced and curly-haired ; he wears trousers of what is 
known as " Oxford mixture," a species of stuff apparently 
specially manufactured for the use of boys, as it is nevei 
shown to you by your tailor when you attain to manhood. 
These trousers are short in the legs and white at the knees ; 
they are smeared in the region of the pockets with reminis- 
cences of bygone toffee ; they bulge out with concealed 
peg-tops, tennis-balls, and half-munched apples, and on the 
hips the pocket-flaps make two large " dog's-ears." The 
waistcoat was originally black, but is now of a grayish hue 
from the immense quantity of powdered slate-pencil that has 
been spilt over it, and a stick of this valuable commodity is 
always protruding from the pocket, either through the legiti- 
mate opening, or through a hole made by its own sharp 
point. Across the waistcoat, too, runs a straight white line 

ISO VS. 257 

the result of perpetual rubbings against the desk while 
undergoing the necessary initiation into the mystery of pot- 
hooks and hangers. The contents of the 'waistcoat-pockets 
are most probably half a peg-top, known in scholastic lan- 
guage as "bacon," the aforenamed slate-pencil, a favourite 
"alley" and a couple of "taws," a penny, half a stick of 
particoloured nastiness known as " Boney's ribs," and popu- 
larly supposed to be a portion of the anatomy of the late 
prisoner of St. Helena, and a small piece of wood sharpened 
at both ends and called a "cat." The first idea suggested 
by the jacket is that of universal shininess — the collar, the 
cuffs, the front-flaps by the buttons, are greased and polished 
to a pitch of intensity ; under the left arm is a large excres- 
cence caused by the handkerchief of the owner, a small 
brass cannon, a long piece of whipcord with a button at the 
end, and a Jew's-harp ; all which are stuffed into the jacket, 
together with the boy's greatest treasure, a fat buck-handled 
knife, which, besides the large and small blades, contains a 
corkscrew, a saw, and an instrument for picking obtrusive 
stones out of horses' feet — all most useful articles to a young 
gentleman pursuing his education at a classical school. The 
socks of the regular boy, at least as much as can be seen of 
them between the trouser and the boot, are generally dirty ; 
the boot is of the Blucher pattern, laceless, but with the 
flaps cleverly connected by means of a portion of the peg- 
top's whipcord. I am sorry to say that your regular boy is 
not good at hands — these members being generally black 
and grimy, with dubby, bitten nails, and tasteful decora- 
tions of cuts and warts ; neither are his ears or neck 
worthy of close observation. His language is peculiarly 
his own — he never has heard it until he goes to school, 
he never hears it (but from his own children perhaps) 
after he is grown up. Do you recollect, reader, any of that 
wonderful tongue, and the impressions and ideas connected 
with it ? Do you recollect the different sorts of marbles 



called " alleys, taws, and clayeys ; " the mysteries of that 
pastime with the wonderful name " High-cock-a-lorum, jig, 
jig, jig ; " the stinging cuts of the tennis-ball inflicted at 
"egg-hat;" the extraordinary game of "duck," which 
hadn't the slightest connection with any feathered fowl, 
but was played with large flint-stones ; the peculiarities of 
" tit, tat, to ; " the desperate struggles to obtain a straight 
line of " oughts and crosses " ? Do you recollect what 
you used to eat in those days ? Toffee, hardbake, all-sorts, 
small rum and gin bottles, sugar pipes and cigars, sugar 
mutton-chops and various other joints elegantly painted and 
gilt, Bath buns by the dozen, acidulated drops by the 
ounce, cocoa-nuts, medlars, unripe fruit of all kinds, and a 
delicious preparation of frizzled quill-pen which was known 
as " roast beef ! " As these recollections rise up before me, 
I no longer wonder at the fortunes achieved by Professor 
Holloway, Dr. De Jongh, and the venerable Jacob Town- 
send. Bad, however, as they may be, they do no harm to 
the regular boy, who has the digestion of an ostrich and the 
constitution of a horse, and whose severest ailments are 
cured by a little salts and senna. The regular boy loves all 
outdoor sports, dotes on the pantomime, and looks forward 
to the day when he shall attain maturity in order that he 
may be a clown. He loves his father and mother, and 
especially his sisters ; his brothers he both likes and licks ; 
grand'pa is "a jolly old brick," and grand'ma an "old 
trump ;" but he doesn't get on well with his maiden aunts, 
and their portraits, adorned with impossible noses, wild 
heads of hair, and fierce moustaches, are to be found on the 
backs of slates and on the palings of the neighbourhood 
generally. Of his schoolmaster he always retains a dis- 
agreeable impression, and the schoolmaster does his best to 
keep it up, never believing that any of his pupils are anything 
but boys, even though they have great strapping children of 
their own standing by their side. His mechanical genius is 

BOYS. 259 

seldom very great — his powers of destructiveness being 
generally in the ascendant, and with the afore-named knife 
he inscribes his name in letters varying from an inch to a 
foot on all practicable places. He is not a great reader — the 
Arabian Nights., Robinson Crusoe, and Peter Parley, con- 
stituting his library. His weakness is smoking. From the 
first time that he has enjoyed a penny Pickwick and a 
dreadful bilious attack simultaneously, he considers himself 
a man, and he runs the risk of imposition, cane, and birch, 
to spend half an hour on a windy afternoon behind a dreary 
old haystack, inhaling a nasty preparation of treacle and 
cabbage-leaves. Finally, the regular boy is universally 
knowing, but ever thirsting for information of a peculiar 
kind, generous, brave, predatory, averse to classic learning, 
idle, strong, and healthy. In these last particulars, and 
indeed in all others, he differs essentially from the boy who 
is brought up at home, or at a private tutor's, and who, in 
fact, is never a " boy," but always a " young gentleman." 
He is always ailing ; in the winter he wears clogs and a 
comforter — sometimes, indeed, a boa, to the intense delight 
of the ruder youths, who assault him in the streets, and call 
after him by the opprobrious epithet of " Miss." He is a 
puny, wizen-faced, melancholy youth, but intensely gentle- 
manly withal. He wears gloves and Wellington boots, and 
mittens in winter, and takes lozenges, not as other boys do, 
as sweetmeats and condiments, but to do good to his chest. 
He never plays at any rough games ; he never soils his 
fingers or his linen ; he never shouts, or screams, or fights. 
He gets cuffed, and kicked, and chaffed by all public 
school-boys, and retaliates not. He is good at draughts, 
understands the mysteries of backgammon, and when you 
are dining with his family, delights them by the clever way 
in which he puzzles you by astute arithmetical questions 
culled from the Key to Walkinghame'' 's Tutor's Assistant- 
He is the boy who, in younger days, repeats " My name is 

R 2 


Norval," standing on a chair ; and who, when he arrives at 
man's estate, is pronounced to be an " agreeable rattle," and 
so clever in acting charades and private theatricals. He is 
partial to Evenings at Home, but abjures Robinson Crusoe as 
" a book that could not possibly be founded on fact." He 
is the admiration of his sisters, who think him so gentle- 
manly and amusing, who superintend the curling of his hair, 
and who work him fragile braces and useless slippers. He 
is generally the son of a rich man, and accordingly is made 
much of by his private tutor, who excuses his late arrival at 
the scholastic parlour, who asks tenderly after his father's 
health, and kotous to him as only struggling tutors can. 
In after life he is to society what Martin Tupper and 
Coventry Patmore are to literature — he is a chip in the 
porridge of the world, harmless, inoffensive, self-satisfied, 
and utterly useless. 

The Street Boy — the Ishmael of modern times, his 
hand being against every man, and every man's hand being 
against, and whenever there is an opportunity upon, him. 
He is a bully and a tyrant, and the terror of London 
generally ; the terror of old ladies, whom he hates with an 
instinctive hatred, to whose pursuit he calls forth tribes of 
his own class, to whom he discloses the advent of the 
apocryphal " mad bull," whose legs he pinches, uttering at 
the same time the simulated yelpings of the maddened dog. 
He is hated by foreign gentlemen of fantastic appearance, 
ridiculing them in the public streets, calling attention to the 
length of their beards, or the curious cut of their hats and 
garments, and addressing them with the mystic words 
"Shallabala" and " Mossoo," which he believes to be the 
staple idiom of their language. He is hated by omnibus 
conductors, whose attention he calls by loud cries of " Hi ! " 
and to whom, on their looking round, he addresses the 
friendly " sight j" by gaping, mooning old gentlemen, to 
whom he points out imaginary balloons ; by watchmakers 

BOYS. 261 

and corkcutters, who practise their occupation in the 
windows of their shops, and who are driven mad by the 
rapid pantomime with which he imitates their movements, 
and by his repeated endeavours to startle them so that their 
fingers may suffer from their inattention. He is hated by 
poulterers, before whose shops he appears unceasingly, 
handling hares and rabbits, and crying "Mi-e-aw" and 
" Poor puss ; " by policemen for his unremitting inquiries 
after the health of their inspectors, and his ardent pursuit 
of knowledge in the matter of the theft of the rabbit-pie ; 
by the lame and the blind, and by all mendicants : but he 
is respected by the proprietors of Punch, by ballad-singers, 
and by the itinerant vendors of articles, to all of whom he 
is an early and a constant audience ; and without his lending 
himself to be operated upon, how could the man who 
removes the stains from our clothes hope to prosper ? 

Music may be said to have charms to soothe the savage 
street-boy, or rather to render him tolerably quiet for the 
space of a few minutes, and he will listen with complaisance 
even to the most cholera-producing organ. The Ethiopians 
are his great delight ; he likes their shirts and collars, and 
the patterns of their trousers, and he more especially 
delights in the leader of the band, with the tow wig and the 
leaden spectacles. He himself is generally musical, and 
accompanies his songs with obligatos on two bits of slate, 
or a Jew's-harp, or, worse than all, an old Lowther Arcade 
accordion. Where he picks up the tunes that he sings is a 
wonder — he knows them and whistles them long before 
they are upon the organs ; and it is from his rcpertohe that 
the burlesque writer selects those airs which he knows will 
be most popular and most appreciated parodies. His 
Terpsichorean exercises are generally confined to the won 
drous "double-shuffle," and to scraps of wild and weird-like 
dances performed round the objects of his attack. He is 
generally engaged in some profession — perhaps in the green- 


grocery line, when he encases his head in the empty basket 
as he returns from his errands, wearing the handle as a chin- 
strap, and decking his person with an old sack ; or he may 
be a butcher, in which case he furtively adorns his hair with 
suet, and wears long and pointed curls, known among the 
female servants in his neighbourhood as " Bill's agger- 
awaters." Or he may be a printer, black-faced and paper- 
capped, sitting at dead of night in the outer chamber of the 
grinding newspaper-writer, and never thoroughly awake. 
He may be a fishmonger, with a garment of flannel which 
is contrived to pay a double debt, serving him at once for 
apron and pocket-handkerchief; or a poulterer, or a grocer J 
but whatever his occupation, he holds firm to one grand 
purpose, and never allows his pleasure to be at all interfered 
with by his business. Walking leisurely along with his oil- 
skin-covered basket, filled with medicines, on the immediate 
receipt of which depends perhaps life and death, he will 
stop and enjoy the humours of Punch, or run half a mile 
in the opposite direction after a fire-engine, or be beguiled 
by a cry of "Stop thief!" Of course, on his return home, 
he will tell a lie to screen himself, and be summarily kicked 
and cuffed : indeed, looking at the wonderful life led by the 
street-boy — his exposure to cold, hunger, and misery ; his 
want of education and lack of kind treatment — we must 
not wonder at his growing into the lounging, ill-conditioned, 
ignorant, hardened cub, which, in nine out of ten cases, he 



I suppose — the lamentable failure of his tercentenary not- 
withstanding — it will be considered creditable to have 
shared a few thoughts with the late Shakespeare. On more 
than one occasion I have detected myself uttering senti- 
ments which were identical with some enunciated by that 
bard, differing merely in the language in which they were 
expressed, as might be expected when it is considered that 
the late Shakespeare was a poetical party; while I pride 
myself on being an eminently practical man. Besides, if I 
may so say, my illustrations have been brought down to the 
present time, and are impregnated with the terse wit and 
playful symbolical humour of the day ; whereas our friend 
S.'s are, to say the truth, somewhat rococo and old-fashioned. 
You will see what I mean when I quote one of my last, a 
saying which was hailed with immense delight at our club, 
The Odd Tricks, on Saturday : " All the world's an omni- 
bus ! " I am aware that S. has the same idea with regard to 
" a stage," but stages do not run now, whatever they might 
in S.'s time, and besides, an omnibus gives greater variety. 

I have been an omnibus rider all my life. To be sure 
I went to school in a hackney-coach, falling on my knees in 
the straw at the bottom, I remember, as the wretched horses 
stumbled up Highgate Hill, and imploring a maiden aunt, 


who was my conductor, to take me back, even at the sacri- 
fice of two bright half-crowns, which I had received as a 
parting tip, and a new pair of Wellington boots. But when 
I " left," I came away in an omnibus, and at once began my 
omnibus experiences. I lived then with my mother, at 
Beaver Cottage, Hammersmith New Road, and I used to 
go up every morning to the Rivet and Trivet Office, 
Somerset House, in the nine-o'clock omnibus, every seat of 
which was regularly bespoke, while the conductor summoned 
his passengers by wild blasts upon a horn, as the vehicle 
approached their doors. That was two-and-twenty years ago. 
Every rider in the nine-o'clock omnibus, save the junior 
clerk in the Rivet and Trivet department, has taken his 
final ride in a vehicle of much the same shape, but of a 
more sombre colour, and carrying only one inside ; and I, 
that identical junior, some years retired from the service on 
a little pension and a little something of my own, trying to 
kill time as best I may, find no pursuit more amusing than 
riding about in the different omnibuses, and speculating on 
the people I meet therein. 

I am bound to say that in many respects the omnibuses 
and their men are greatly improved during my experience. 
The thirteenth seat, that awful position with your back to 
the horses and your face to the door, where, in a Mahomet's- 
coffin-like attitude, you rested on nothing, and had to con- 
template your own legs calmly floating before you, very 
little below the faces of your right and left hand neighbours, 
has been abolished ; a piece of cocoa-nut matting is gene- 
rally substituted for that dank straw which smelt so horribly 
and clung to your boots with such vicious perseverance ; 
most of the windows are, what is termed in stage-lan<ma°-e 
practicable, and can be moved at pleasure ; and a system of 
ventilation in the roof is now the rule, instead of, as in my 
early days, the singular exception. Thirdly, by the salutary 
rule of the General Omnibus Company, aided by the sharp 


notice which the magistrates take of any impropriety, the 
omnibus servants, the coachmen and conductors, from 
insolent blackguards have become, for the most part, civil 
and intelligent men; while the whole "service" — horses 
harness, food, etc. — has been placed on a greatly improved 
footing. But my experience teaches me that the omnibus- 
riders are very much of the same type as ever. I still find 
the pleasant placid little elderly gentleman who sits on the 
right hand by the door, who always has an umbrella with a 
carved ivory top, and always wears a plaited shirt-frill, dull- 
gray trousers, rather short, and showing a bit of the leg of 
his Wellington boots ; who carries a brown snuff-box like 
a bit of mottled soap ; who hands everybody into the 
omnibus, and who is particular in pushing down and 
sending quickly after their wearers the exuberant crinolines 
of the ladies. It is he who always starts subscriptions 
among the regulars for the Lancashire distress or the frozen- 
out operatives, or for the widow of some stable-helper who 
was killed by a kicking horse, or for the crippled crossing- 
sweeper who was knocked down by the hansom cab. It 
was he who, when Stunning Joe, our "express" nine a.m. 
coachman, was pitched off his box going sharp round the 
corner of Pine-apple Place, and upset us all — we were not 
hurt, but Joe smashed his collar-bone and his right arm, and 
was not expected to live — it was our pleasant-faced little 
friend who used to go every day to the hospital, made 
interest, and got himself admitted, and took Joe a thousand 
little comforts, and sat by his bedside and read to him by 
the hour together — not forgetting, when Joe grew conva- 
lescent, to put three sovereigns into his hand, and tell him 
to go and set himself thoroughly right by a fortnight's stay 
at the sea-side. The omnibus calls for him regularly, but 
long before it arrives he has walked down to the end of the 
crescent where he lives, with two or three of his grand- 
children, who all insist on being kissed before they allow 


him to start, while their mother, his daughter, seldom omits 
to wave her farewell from the dining-room window. He 
takes six weeks' holiday in the autumn, when it is understood 
that he is away at the sea-side with his family ; but at no 
other time does he omit riding to and from town in the 
omnibus, save on Christmas-eve, when, in consideration of 
certain trifling purchases he has made — among them a huge 
Leadenhall Market turkey, a large slice out of Fortnum and 
Mason's shop, and half the Lowther Arcade store of toys— he 
charters a cab, and freights it for the return journey with the 
precious produce. 

I still find the old gentleman who sits on the left side of 
the door, and whose hands are always clasped on the top of 
his stick ; the old gentleman with a face like a withered 
apple, with the high, stiff starched cross-barred check 
neckerchief, the close-napped curly-brimmed hat, the beaver 
gloves, the pepper-and-salt trousers, the drab gaiters and 
boots. He never helps anybody in or out, and scowls if he be 
accidentally touched; when the women's crinolines scrape his 
legs as their wearers pass him, he growls " Yar ! " and 
prods at them with his stick; he knows the sensitive part of 
the conductor's anatomy, and pokes him viciously therein 
when people want the omnibus to be stopped ; he raps the 
fingers of the little boys who spring on the step proffering 
newspapers ; he checks the time of the journey by a large 
white-faced gold watch, which he compares with every 
church-clock on the road ; he tells women to get their 
money ready ; he shakes his stick in a very terrifying and 
Gog-and-Magogish manner at crying children. He never 
will have the window open on the hottest summer day; and 
he refuses to alight, if there be any mud, unless he is 
deposited close by the kerbstone, no matter if the City 
crush is at its height, and the omnibus has to be steered 
through an opposing procession of Pickfords. He is the 
great delight of the knifeboard " regulars," who never omit 


to send a puff of tobacco-smoke (which he detests) into his 
face as they mount to their elevated berths ; who call him 
"The Dry Fish;" who declare that, instead of washing, he 
rasps himself, as a baker does rolls ; who vow, when the 
omnibus goes over any rough bit of road, that they hear his 
heart rattling inside him like a pebble ; who send him by 
the conductor the most tremendous messages, which that 
functionary enormously enjoys, but never delivers. 

The Feebles, who are the constant supporters of omni- 
buses, still remain in all their forcible feebleness. They are 
of both sexes, the female perhaps predominating. They 
never know whether the omnibus is outward or homeward 
bound, and, having got in at Charing Cross, begin, when 
we arrive at Turnham Green, to express their wonder 
" when we shall come to the Bank." They never can recol- 
lect the name of the street at which they are to be set down. 
" Deary me, Newland Street — no, not Newland, some name 
just like Newland — Archer Street, I think, or terrace ; don't 
you know it ? Mrs. Blethers lives at Number Seven ! " If 
by chance they do know the name of their destination, they 
mention it to the conductor when they get in, and then for 
the whole remainder of the seven-mile journey, whenever 
the vehicle stops, they bounce up from their seats, mutter 
" Is this Belinda Grove ! " stagger over the feet of their 
fellow-passengers until they reach the door, where they are 
wildly repulsed, and fall back until they are jolted by the 
motion of the omnibus into a seat. The women carry their 
money either in damp smeary colourless kid gloves, round 
the palms of which they rake with their forefinger for a six- 
pence, as a snuff-connoisseur will round his box for the last 
few grains of Prince's Mixture ; or they carry it in a mys- 
terious appendage called a pocket : not a portion of the 
dress, but, so far as I can make out from cursory observa- 
tion, a kind of linen wallet suspended from the waist, to 
reach which causes a great deal of muscular exertion, and 


not a small display of under-garment. It is scarcely neces- 
sary to say that the Feebles never know the fare, that they 
always want change for a sovereign — fourpence to be de- 
ducted — that they constantly think the omnibus is going to 
be upset, or that the horses have run away ; that they 
always interrupt testy old gentlemen deep in their news- 
papers by asking them whether there is any news ; and that 
they are in omnibuses, as they are in life, far more obstruc- 
tive and disagreeable than the most wrong-headed and 

When a child in an omnibus is good, you hate it ; what 
can you do when it is bad ! When it is good, it kneels on 
the seat with its face to the window, and with its muddy 
boots, now on the lap of its next, now against the knees of 
its opposite, neighbour. It drums upon the glass with its 
fist, it rubs the glass with its nose. When it is bad, if it be 
very young, from under its ribboned cap, fiercely cocked on 
one side, it glares at you with a baleful eye, and dribbles as 
in mockery, with one mottled arm up to the elbow in its 
mouth. If it be " getting on " and older, it commences to 
swing its legs like two clock pendulums, with a regular 
motion, increasing in vigour until one of its feet catches 
you on the shin, when it is " fetched-up " short by a sharp 
prod in the side from its attendant sprite, and is put as a 
punishment to " stand down." Then it deposits itself on 
your toes, and thence commences the ascent of your leg, 
taking your instep as its Grands Mulets, or resting-place. 

Among the general characteristics of " insides," I need 
scarcely point out a feeling inducing those already in posses- 
sion to regard every new-comer with loathing, to decline 
tendering the least assistance, to close up their ranks as 
earnestly as the Scottish spearmen did at Flodden Field 
" each stepping where his comrade stood," and to leave the 
new arrival to grope his way through a thick brushwood of 
knees, crinolines, and umbrellas, to the end of the omnibus 


where lie finally inserts as much of himself as he can 
between the woodwork and his next neighbour's shoulder, 
and leaves his ultimate position to Time the Avenger. It 
is also an infallible and rigorously observed rule that, if two 
people meeting in an omnibus know each other and speak, 
all the other people in the omnibus endeavour to listen to 
what those two are saying — also, that all the other people 
pretend that they are not listening or paying the least atten- 
tion to the conversation. Further, it is necessary that 
whenever a stout person is seen blocking out the daylight 
in the doorway, each side having the same complement of 
passengers, all should begin to assume a defiant air, and get 
close together and play that game known among children 
as " no child of mine," or to treat the new-comer as a kind 
of shuttlecock, tossing him from one to the other until an 
accidental jolt decides his fate. 

The " outsides " are a very different class. Women are 
never seen there, save when an occasional maid-servant 
going into the country for a holiday climbs up beside the 
coachman : who, though he greatly enjoys her company, 
becomes the object of so much ribald chaff among his 
associates. Passing him on the road, they inquire " when 
it's a comin' off? " if he be unmarried ; or if he be in a state 
of connubial bliss, threaten to " tell the missis." But the 
" outsides " are, for the most part, young men of fast ten- 
dencies, who always make a point of ascending and descend- 
ing while the omnibus is at its swiftest, and who would be 
degraded and disgusted if the driver slackened his pace to 
accommodate them. Some of them are very young-looking 
indeed, and but one remove from schoolboys ; and these, I 
notice, feel bound to suck wooden or meerschaum pipes, 
and to talk of their exploits of the previous evening. With 
them, the conductor, always known by his christian-name, 
is on the pleasantest terms, occasionally being admitted to 
the friendly game of pool, at the tavern where the journey 


terminates. They know all the other omnibus servants on 
the road, who touch their hats as they pass, and they main- 
tain a constant conversation about them in a low growling 
tone : as — " Old Harry's late again this morning ! " " Little 
Bill's still driving that blind 'un, I see ! " and so forth. 

Most of these young fellows have their regular booked 
seats, for which they pay weekly, whether they occupy them 
or no ; and for a stranger to get up amongst them is as bad 
as if he were accidentally to penetrate into the sacred 
precincts of the Stock Exchange. 



When I think that this is written with unshackled hands in 
a pleasant library instead of a padded cell, that I am as 
much in possession of my senses as I ever was, and that I 
acted under no constraint or obligation — I feel that the 
world will be naturally incredulous when I record the fact 
that I went to the last Derby. I blush as I make the state- 
ment ; but if I had not gone, what could I have done with 
O'Hone, who had come over from Ballyblether expressly for 
the event, who had been my very pleasant guest for the 
three previous days, and who would have been grievously 
disappointed had he not put in an appearance on the 
Downs ? For O'Hone is decidedly horsey. From the 
crown of his bell-shaped hat to the soles of his natty boots, 
taking in his cutaway coat, his long waistcoat, and his tight 
trousers, there is about him that singular flavour, com- 
pounded of stables, starting-bells, posts and rails, trodden 
grass, metallic memorandum-books, and lobster-salad, which 
always clings to those gentry whom the press organs are 
pleased to describe as " patrons of the turf." Since O'Hone 
has been with me, the stout cob whose services I retain for 
sanitary purposes, and who is wont to jolt me up the breezy 
heights of Hampstead or through the green lanes of 
"Willesden, has been devoted to my friend, has undergone 


an entirely new phase of existence, has learnt to curvet and 
dance, and has passed a considerable portion .of each day 
in airing himself and his rider in the fashionable Row. For 
I find it characteristic of all my visitors from the country, 
that while they are in town not merely should they see, but 
also that they should be seen ; there is generally some 
friend from their country town staying in London at the 
same time, to whom they like to exhibit themselves to the 
best advantage, and there is always the local member of 
parliament, who is called upon and catechised, and whose 
life, from what I can make out, must be a weary one indeed. 
For O'Hone to miss seeing the race would have been 
wretched, though even then he would not have been worse 
off than an American gentleman who crossed the Atlantic 
expressly to attend the Epsom festival, and who, being 
seized with the pangs of hunger at about half-past two on 
the Derby day, entered Mr. Careless's booth and began 
amusing himself with some edible " fixings " in the way of 
lunch, in which pleasant task he was still engaged when 
shouts rent the air, and the American gentleman rushing 
hatless out of the booth, and finding that the race had been 
run and was over, burst into the piercing lamentation : 
" Oh Je — rusalem ! To come three thousand miles to eat 
cold lamb and salad ! " But O'Hone to miss being seen at 
the race, being recognised by the member, by Tom Durfy, 
now sporting reporter on the press, but erst educated at the 
Ballyblether Free School, and by two or three townsmen 
who were safe to be on the Downs — that would be misery 
indeed. Moreover, I was dimly conscious of a white hat, 
and a singular alpaca garment (which gave one the idea 
that the wearer's tailor had sent home the lining instead of 
the coat), which I knew had been specially reserved by my 
friend for the Derby day. So I determined that, so far as 
I was concerned, no overt objection to our going to Epsom 
should be made. 


I still, however, retained a latent hope that the sense of 
impending misery, only too obvious from the aspect of the 
sky during the two previous days, would have had its 
natural effect in toning down my impulsive guest; but when 
I went into his bedroom on the morning of the fatal day, 
and when I pulled up the blind and made him conscious of 
the rain pattering against his window, he merely remarked 
that "a light animal was no good to-day, anyhow," and I, 
with a dim internal consciousness that I, albeit a heavy 
animal, was equally of no good under the circumstances, 
withdrew in confusion. At breakfast, O'Hone was still 
appallingly cheerful, referred in a hilarious manner to the 
" laying of the dust," borrowed my waterproof coat with a 
gentlemanly assumption which I have only seen rivalled by 
the light comedian in a rattling farce, and beguiled me into 
starting, during a temporary cessation of the downfall, after 
he had made a severe scrutiny of the sky, and had delivered 
himself of various meteorological observations, in which, 
when they come from persons residing in the country, I 
have a wild habit of implicitly believing. 

We had promised, the night before, to call for little 
Iklass, an artist, and one of the pleasantest companions 
possible when all went well, but who, if it rained, or the 
cork had come out of the salad-dressing, or the salt had 
been forgotten at a picnic, emerged as Apollyon incarnate. 
Little Iklass's greatest characteristic being his generous 
devotion to himself, I knew that the aspect of the morning 
would prevent him from running the chance of allowing any 
damp to descend on that sacred form. We found him 
smoking a pipe, working at his easel, and chuckling at the 
discomfiture outside. " No, no, boys," said he, " not I ! 
I'll be hanged " 

" Which you weren't this year at the Academy ! " I 
interrupted viciously. But you can't upset Iklass with your 
finest sarcasm ! 


" The same to you, and several of them — no — which I 
was not— but I will be if I go to-day ! It'll be awfully 
miserable, and there are three of us, and I daresay you 
won't always let me sit in the middle, with you to keep the 
wind off on either side. And I won't go ! " And he 
wouldn't; so we left him, and saw him grinning out of his 
window, and pointing with his mahl-stick at the skies, 
whence the rain began to descend again as we got into the 

We went on gloomily enough to the Waterloo Station ; 
we passed the Regent Circus, and saw some very shy omni- 
buses with paper placards of " Epsom " on them, empty 
and ghastly ; there was no noise, no excitement, no attempt 
at joyousness ! I remembered the Derbys of bygone years, 
and looked dolefully at O'Hone ; but he had just bought a 
" c'rect card," and was deep in statistical calculations. 

There was no excitement at the station ; we took our 
places at the tail of a damp little crowd, and took our 
tickets as though we were going to Birmingham. There was 
a little excitement on getting into the train of newly- 
varnished carriages destined for our conveyance, for the 
damp little crowd had been waiting some time, and made a 
feeble little charge as the train came up. O'Hone and I 
seized the handle of a passing door, wrenched it open and 
jumped in. We were followed by an old gentleman with a 
long stock and a short temper, an affable stock-broker in a 
perspiration, and two tremendous swells, in one of whom I 
recognised the Earl of Wallsend, the noble colliery pro- 
prietor. Our carriage is thus legitimately full ; but a 
ponderous woman of masculine appearance and prehensile 
wrists hoists herself on to the step, and tumbles in amongst 
us. This rouses one of the swells, who remonstrates gently, 
and urges that there is no room ; but the ponderous woman 
is firm, and not only takes 'vantage-ground herself, but 
invites a male friend, called John, to join her. " Coom in 


Jan ! Coom in, tell ye ! Coom in, Jan ! " But here the 
swell is adamant. " No," says he, rigidly, " I'll be deed if 
John shall come in ! Police !" And when the guard 
arrives, first John is removed, and then the lady ; and then 
the swell says, with an air of relief: " Good Heaven ! did 
they think the carriage was a den of wild beasts ? " 

So, through a quiet stealing rain, the train proceeded, 
and landed us at last at a little damp rickety station — an 
oasis of boards in. a desert of mud. Sliding down a greasy 
clay hill, we emerged upon the town of Epsom and the con- 
fluence of passengers by rail and by road. We, who had 
come by the rail, were not lively ; we were dull and dreary, 
but up to this point tolerably dry, in which we had the 
advantage of those who had travelled by the road, and who 
were not merely sulky and morose, but wet to their skins. 
At The Spread Eagle and at The King's Head stood the 
splashed drags with the steaming horses, while their limp 
occupants tumbled dismally, off the roofs, and sought 
temporary consolation in hot brandy-and -water. A dog- 
cart, with two horses driven tandem-fashion, and conveying 
four little gents, attempted to create an excitement on its 
entry into the town. One of the little gents on the back 
seat took a post-horn from its long wicker case and tried to 
blow it, but the rain, which had gradually been collecting 
in the instrument, ran into his mouth and choked him; 
while the leading horse, tempted by the sight of some 
steaming hay in a trough, turned sharp round and looked 
its driver piteously in the face, refusing to be comforted, or, 
what was more to the purpose, to move on, until it had 
obtained refreshment. So, on through the dull little town, 
where buxom women looked with astonishment mixed with 
pity at the passers-by ; and where, at a boot-shop, the 
cynical proprietor stood in the doorway smoking a long 
clay pipe and openly condemned us with a fiendish laugh 
as '■ a pack of adjective jackasses ; " up the hill, on which 

s 2 


the churned yellow mud lay in a foot-deep bath, like egg- 
flip, and beplastered us wretched pedestrians whenever it 
was stirred by horses' hoofs or carriage-wheels ; skirting 
the edge of a wheat-field (and a very large edge we made of 
it before we had finished), the proprietor whereof had 
erected a few feeble twigs by way of barriers here and there 
— a delusion and a mockery which the crowd had resented 
by tearing them up and strewing them in the path ; across a 
perfect Slough of Despond situated between two brick 
walls, too wide to jump, too terrible to laugh at, a thing to 
be deliberately waded throu gh with turned-up trousers, and 
heart and boots that sank simultaneously ; a shaking bog, 
on the side of which stood fiendish boys armed with wisps 
of straw, with which, for a consideration, they politely pro- 
posed to clean your boots. 

I didn't want my boots cleaned. I was long past any 
such attempt at decency. O'Hone was equally reckless ; 
and so, splashed to our eyes, we made our way to the 
course. Just as we reached the Grand Stand a rather 
shabby carriage dashed up to the door, and a howl of damp 
welcome announced that Youthful Royalty had arrived. 
Youthful Royalty, presently emerging in a Macintosh coat, 
with a cigar in its mouth, proved so attractive that any pro- 
gress in its immediate vicinity was impossible; so O'Hone 
and I remained tightly jammed up in a crowd, the com- 
ponent parts of which were lower, worse, and wickeder than 
I have ever seen. Prize-fighters — not the aristocracy of the 
ring ; not those gentry who are " to be heard of," or whose 
money is ready ; not those who are always expressing in 
print their irrepressible desire to do battle with Konky's 
JMovice at catch-weight, or who have an "Unknown" per- 
petually walking about in greatcoat, previous to smashing 
the champion — not these, but elderly flabby men with 
flattened noses and flaccid skins and the seediest of great- 
coats buttoned over the dirtiest of jerseys ; racing touts — 


thin, wiry, sharp-faced little men, with eyes strained and 
bleary from constant secret watching of racers' gallops ; 
dirt)-, battered tramps, sellers of cigar-lights and c'rect cards; 
pickpockets, shifty and distrustful, .with no hope of a harvest 
from their surroundings ; and " Welshers," who are the 
parody on TattersalPs and the Ring, who are to the Jockey 
Club and the Enclosure what monkeys are to men — poor 
pitiful varlets in greasy caps and tattered coats, whose 
whole wardrobe would be sneered at in Holywell Street or 
Rag Fair, and who yet are perpetually bellowing, in hoarse 
ragged tones, " I'll bet against the field ! " " I'll bet against 
Li-bellous ! " " I'll bet against the Merry Maid ! " " I'll 
bet against anyone, bar one ! " Nobody seemed to take 
their bets, nobody took the slightest notice of their offers, 
and yet they bellowed away until the race was run, in every 
variety of accent — in cockney slang, in Yorkshire harshness, 
in Irish brogue. These were the only members of the 
crowd thoroughly intent on their business ; for all the rest 
Youthful Royalty had an immense attraction. 

Sliding and slithering about on the sloping ground 
where turf had been and where now mud was, they pushed, 
and hustled, and jumped up to look over each other's 
heads. " Vich is 'im ? Vich is 'im ? " " Not 'im ! That's 
the late Duke o' Vellington ! There's the Prince a blowin' 
his 'bacca like a man ! " " Ain't he dry neither ? " " Ain't 
I? Vonder vether he'd stand a drain ? " " He wouldn't 
look so chuff if he vos down here, vith this moisture a 
tricklin' on his 'ed ! " " Who's the hold bloke in bar- 
nacles ? " " That— that's Queen Hann ! " No wet, no 
poverty, no misery, could stop the crowd's chaff; and 
amidst it all still rang out the monotonous cry of the 
" Welshers "—" I'll bet against Li-bellous!" "I'll bet 
against the field !" 

A dull thudding on the turf, a roar from the neighbour- 
ing stand, and the simultaneous disappearance of all the 


" Welshers," tells us — for we can see nothing — that the first 
race is over, and that we can move towards the hill. Motion 
is slow ; for the crowd surging on to the course is met by a 
crowd seething off it, and when I do fight to the front, I 
have to dip under a low rail, and come out on the other 
side, like a diver. The course was comparatively dry ; and 
just as we emerged upon it, a large black overhanging cloud 
lifted like a veil, and left a bright, unnatural, but not un- 
promising sky. O'Hone brightened simultaneously, and 
declared that all our troubles were over ; we gained the hill, 
worked our way through the lines of carriages, received a 
dozen invitations to lunch, took a glass or two of sherry as 
a preliminary instalment, and settled down for the Derby. 
The old preparations annually recurring — the bell to clear 
the course, the lagging people, the demonstrative police, the 
dog (four different specimens this year at different intervals,, 
each with more steadfastness of purpose to run the entire 
length of the course than I have ever seen previously ex- 
hibited), the man who, wanting to cross, trots halfway, is 
seized and brought back in degradation ; the man who says 
or does something obnoxious (nobody ever knows what) to 
his immediate neighbours just before the race, and is there- 
upon bonneted, and kicked, and cuffed into outer darkness ; 
the yelling Ring ; the company on the hill, purely ama- 
teurish, with no pecuniary interest beyond shares in a five- 
shilling sweepstakes, and divided between excitement about 
the race and a desire for lunch ; the entrance of the horses 
from the paddock, the preliminary canter — all the old things, 
with one new feature — new to me at least — the rain ! No 
mistake about it; down, down it came in straight steady 
pour; no blinking it, no "merely a shower," no hint at 
" laying the dust ; " it asserted its power at once, it defied 
you to laugh at it, it defied you to fight against it, it meant 
hopeless misery, and it carried out its meaning. Up with 
the hoods of open carriages, out with the rugs, up with the 


aprons, unfurl umbrellas on the top of the drags ; shiver and 
crouch Monsieur Le Sport, arrived vi'd Folkestone last night 
— poor Monsieur Le Sport, in the thin paletot and the curly- 
brimmed hat, down which the wet trickles, and the little 
jean boots with the shiny tips and the brown-paper soles, 
already pappy and sodden. Cower under your canvas wall, 
against which no sticks at three a penny will rattle to-day, 
O gipsy tramp ; run to the nearest drinking-booth, O band 
of niggers, piebald with the wet ! For one mortal hour do 
we stand on the soaked turf in the pouring rain, with that 
horrid occasional shiver which always accompanies wet feet, 
waiting for a start to be effected. Every ten minutes rises a 
subdued murmur of hope, followed by a growl of disappoint- 
ment. At last they are really " off," and for two minutes 
we forget our misery. But it comes upon us with redoubled 
force when the race is over, and there is nothing more to 
look forward to. 

Lunch ? Nonsense ! Something to keep off starvation, 
if you like — a bit of bread and a chicken's wing — but no 
attempt at sociality. One can't be humorous inside a close 
carriage with the windows up, and the rain battering on 
the roof ! Last year it was iced champagne, claret-cup, 
and silk overcoats ; now it ought to be hot brandy-and- 
water, foot-baths, and flannels. Home ! home, across the 
wheat-field, now simple squash ; down the hill, now liquid 
filth ; through the town, now steaming like a laundress's in 
full work ; home by the train with other silent, sodden, 
miserable wretches ; home in a cab, past waiting crowds of 
jeering cynics, who point the finger and take the sight, and 
remark, " Ain't they got it, neither ! " and " Water-rats this 
lot ! " — home to hot slippers, dry clothes, a roaring fire, and 
creature-comforts, and a stern determination never again to 
" do " a dirty Derby. 


innocents' day. 

On the evening of Wednesday, the 3rd of June, a contest 
was waged between the two guardian angels respectively 
typifying Pleasure and Duty, who are appointed to watch 
over the humble person of the present writer. These con- 
tests are by no means of unfrequent occurrence ; but as this 
was a specially sharp tussle, and as it ended by Duty getting 
the best of it — which is very seldom the case — I feel bound 
to record it. This humble person was, on the occasion in 
question, seated in his small suburban garden, on a rustic 
seat (than which he ventures to opine in regard to the hard- 
ness of the surface to be sat upon, its slipperiness, its normal' 
dampness, and the tendency of its knobbly formation towards 
irritation of the spinal cord, there cannot be a more dis- 
tressing piece of furniture), was smoking an after-dinner 
pipe, and was contemplating the glowing relics of the splendid 
day fast being swallowed up in the gray of the evening, when 
he felt a slight (mental) tap on his left shoulder, and became 
aware of the invisible presence of Pleasure. 

" Lovely evening ! " said Pleasure. 

" Gorgeous ! " said the present writer, who had had his 
dinner, and was proportionally enthusiastic. 

" Splendid for Ascot to-morrow ! " 

" Mag-nificent ! " 


" You'll go, of course ? " 

Mental tap on my right shoulder, and still small voice : 
' ; You'll do nothing of the sort ! " Ha, ha ! I thought, 
Duty has come to the charge, then. 

'■Well I" I hesitated, "you see I " 

"What !" exclaimed Pleasure, "are you in any doubt? 
Think of the drive down the cool calm Windsor Park, with 
the big umbrageous trees, the blessed stillness, the sweet 
fresh air ! Then the course, so free and breezy, the odour 
of the trodden turf, the excitement of the race, the " 

"Think of how to pay your tailor," whispered Duty ^ 
" the triumph of a receipted bill, the comfort of knowing 
that you're wearing your own coat and not Schnipp and 
Company's property ! Stick to your great work on Logarithms; 
be a man, and earn your money." 

" You'll kill the man ! " said Pleasure, beginning to 
get angry. " You know what all work and no play makes 

" His name isn't Jack, and if it were, what then ? " 
retorted Duty. " Do you know what all play and no work 
makes a man, or rather what it leaves him ? A purposeless 
idiot, a shambling, loafing idler, gaping through his day, and 
wasting other people's precious time. Ah ! if some of your 
followers, ' votaries of pleasure,' as they're called, both 
male and female, had some permanent occupation for only 
a few hours of the day, the sin, and crime, and misery 
that now degrade the world might be reduced by at least 
one-half ! " 

" Don't talk of my followers, if you please, old lady ! " 
shouted Pleasure, highly indignant. " No need to say that 
none are ' allowed ' in your case, I should think. With 
your horribly stern ideas you do far more mischief than I. 
Ever holding you before their eyes, men slave and slave 
until such wretched life as is left them terminates at middle 
age ; seen through your glasses, life is a huge sandy desert, 


watered by the tears of the wretched pilgrims, but yielding 
no blade of hope, no flower of freshness. I hate such 
cant ! " 

" Madam ! " said Duty, with grave courtesy, " your 
language is low. I leave you." 

"And I leave you, you old frump !" And both guardian 
angels floated away : Pleasure, as she passed, bending 
over me, and murmuring in my ear, " You'll go to 

But when I came indoors and examined the contents of 
my cash-box, I found that the waters were very low indeed ; 
when I looked on my desk and saw about fifteen written 
slips of paper (my great work on Logarithms) on the right- 
hand side, and about five hundred perfectly blank and 
virgin slips on the left ; when I thought of the bills that 
were "coming on," and of the bills that had recently passed 
by without having been "met," I determined to stick 
steadily to my work, and to give up all idea of the races. 
In this state of mind I remained all night, and — shutting 
my eyes to the exquisite beauty of the day — all the early 
morning, and in which state of mind I still continued, 
when, immediately after breakfast, I was burst in upon by 
Oppenhart — of course waving a ticket. 

It is a characteristic of Oppenhart's always to be waving 
tickets ! A good fellow with nothing particular to do (he is 
in a government office), he has hit upon an excellent method 
of filling up his leisure by becoming a member of every 
imaginable brotherhood, guild, society, or chapter, for the 
promotion of charity and the consumption of good dinners. 
What proud position he holds in the grand masonic body I 
am unable positively to state. On being asked, he replies 
that he is a — something alphabetical, I'm afraid to state 
what, but a very confusing combination of letters — then he 
is an Odd Fellow, and an Old Friend, and a Loving 
Brother, and a Rosicrucian, and a Zoroaster, and a Druid, 


and a Harmonious Owl, and an Ancient Buffalo. I made 
this latter discovery myself, for having been invited by a 
convivial friend to dine at the annual banquet of his " herd," 
I found there Oppenhart, radiant in apron and jewel and 
badge, worshipped by all around. He has drawers full of 
aprons, ribbons, stars, and "insignia;" he is always going 
to initiate a novice, or to pass a degree, or to instal an arch, 
or to be steward at a festival ; and he is always waving 
tickets of admission to charitable dinners, where you do not 
enjoy yourself at all, and have to subscribe a guinea as 
soon as the cloth is drawn. So that when I saw the card 
in his hand I made up my mind emphatically to decline, 
and commenced shaking my head before he could utter a 

'"' Oppenhart, once for all, I won't ! The Druids sit far 
too late, and there's always a difference of opinion among 
the Harmonious Owls. I've got no money to spare, and I 
won't go." 

" Well, but you've been boring me for this ticket for the 
last three years I" says Oppenhart. " Don't you know what 
to-day is ? it's Innocents' Day." 

I thought the Innocents were some new brotherhood to 
which he had attached himself, and I rebelled again ; but 
he explained that he meant thus metaphorically to convey 
that that day was the anniversary meeting of the charity 
children in St. Paul's, a gathering at which I had often 
expressed a wish to be present, and for which he had pro- 
cured me a ticket. " Got it from Brother Pugh, J.G.W., 
Bumblepuppy Lodge of Yorkshire, No. 1, who is on the 
committee; don't tell Barker I gave it you, or I should 
never know peace again." 

Captain Barker is Oppenhart's shadow, dresses at him, 
follows him into his charities, his dinners, and his clubs, and 
though but a faint reflex of the great original, yet, owing 
to the possession of a swaggering manner and a bow-wowy 


voice, so patronises his Mentor that the latter's life is a 
burden to him. 

I promised not to tell Barker, I took the ticket, I decided 
to go, and I went. Even Duty could not have urged much 
against such a visit, the mode of transit to which was the 
sixpenny omnibus ! My card was admissible between ten 
and twelve, but it was scarcely eleven when I reached 
St. Paul's, and I thought I would amuse myself by watching 
the arriving company. Carriages were pouring into the 
churchyard thick and fast, a few hired flys, but principally 
private vehicles, sedate in colour, heavy in build, filled with 
smug gentlemen, smugger ladies and demure daughters, 
driven by sedate coachmen, and conveying serious footmen 
behind, drawn by horses which had a Claphamite air, utterly 
different from the prancing tits of the Parks — sober easy- 
going animals, laying well to collar, and doing the work cut 
out for them in all seriousness and gravity. Preceded by 
beadles, gorgeous creatures in knobbly gowns and cockades 
like black fans in their hats (who, however, were so utterly 
unable to make any impression on the crowd that they had 
themselves to enlist the services of, and to be taken in tow 
by, the police), flanked by the clergymen of the parish, 
generally painfully modest at the gaze of the multitude, the 
troops of charity children came pouring in from every side ; 
and, round each door was gathered an admiring crowd, 
principally composed of women, watching the entrance of 
the schools. The excitement among these good people was 
very great. " Here's our school, mother ! " cried a big 
bouncing girl of eighteen, evidently "in service." "Look 
at Jane, ain't she nice ? Lor, she's forgot her gloves ! " and 
then she telegraphed at a tremendous rate to somebody who 
didn't see her, and was loud in her wailing. Two old 
women were very politely confidential to each other. " Yes, 
mem, this is St. Saviour's School, mem, and a good school 
it is, mem ! " " Oh, I know it well, mem ! which it was my 


parish until I moved last Janiwarry, and shall always think 
of partin' with regret, mem ! " " Ho ! indeed, mem ! Now, 
to be sure ! Wos you here last year, mem ? No, you wos 
not ! Ah, it wos a wet day, a dreadful disappointment, 
mem ! though our children made the best on it, the boys 
wore their capes, and the gals wos sent in cabs, they wos ! " 
Nearly everywhere the sight of the children made a pleasant 
impression. I saw two regular Old Bailey birds, with the 
twisted curl and the tight cap and the grease-stained fustians, 
stop to look at them, and one of them, pointing with his 
pipe, said in quite a soft voice to the other : " Reg'lar pretty, 
ain't it ? " The boys at St. Paul's School left off their play, 
and rushed at the grating which separates them from the 
passers-by and howled with delight ; the omnibus men pulled 
up short to let the children cross, and, possibly out of respect 
for such youthful ears, refrained from favouring their horses 
with any of their favourite appellations ; only one person 
sneered — a very little person in human form, who climbed 
with difficulty into a high, hansom. He was evidently Ascot- 
bound, and, as he drove off, lighted a very big cigar, which 
stuck out of his mouth like a bowsprit. This majestic 
little person curled his little lip at the mildness of our 

I went round, as my ticket directed me, to the north 
door of the cathedral, and found the entrance gaily covered 
in with canvas, surrounded by a crowd of gazers, and guarded 
by such large-whiskered and well-fed policemen as only the 
City can produce. Up some steps, and into the grasp of 
the stewards, duly decorated with blue watch-ribbons and 
gold medals like gilt crown-pieces. Stewards of all sorts — 
the bland steward, " This way, if you please. Your ticket ? 
thank you. To the left ; thank you ! " with a bow and a 
smile as though you had done him a personal favour in 
coming ; the irritable steward, short, stout, and wiping his 
stubbly head with one hand, motioning to the advancing 


people with the other — "Go back, sir! go back, sir! Can't you 

hear? Jenkins, turn these — Jenkins, where the dev " 

(cut short by nudge from bland steward, who whispers). 
"Ah, I forgot ! I mean where can Jenkins have got to? 
back, sir ! the other side of that railing, do you hear me ? 
back, sir ! " — the sniggering steward, to whose charge the 
ladies are usually confided ; the active steward, who springs 
over benches and arranges chairs ; the passive nothing-doing 
steward, who looks on, and takes all the credit (not an un- 
common proceeding in the world at large) ; and the misan- 
thropic steward, who has been " let in " for his stewardship, 
who loathes his wand and leaves it in a dark corner, who 
hates his medal and tries to button his coat over it, who 
stares grimly at everything, and who has only one hope left 
— " to get out of the place." Types of all these generic 
classes were in St. Paul's, as they are in all charitable gather- 
ings. Most excited of all were four holding plates, two on 
either side the door, and as each knot of people climbed 
the steps, the stewards rattled the plates until the shillings 
and half-sovereigns sprung up and leaped about as they do 
under the movement-compelling horsehair of the conjurer. 

Proceeding, I found myself under the grand dome of 
St. Paul's, in the middle of an arena with a huge semi- 
circular wooden amphitheatre of seats, tier above tier, on 
either side of me, the pulpit facing me, and at my back the 
vast depth of the cathedral reaching to the west entrance com- 
pletely thronged with people. The amphitheatre, reserved 
entirely for the children, presented a very curious appearance. 
A painted black board, or in some instances a gay banner 
inscribed with the name of the school, was stuck up on high 
as a guide. Thus I read : Ludgate Ward, Langbourn Ward, 
Rains' Charity; and the children were seated in rows one 
under the other, ranging from the top of the wooden erec- 
tion to the bottom. A thin rope, or rail, divided one school 
from the other. Several of the schools had already taken 


their places, the boys at the back and the girls in the front, 
in their modest little kerchiefs, their snowy bibs and tuckers, 
their (in many instances) remarkably picturesque caps, and 
their dresses in heavy hues of various sober colours. Be- 
tween two schools thus settled down would come a blank 
space yet unoccupied, and thus the amphitheatre looked 
like the window of some linendraper's shop, as I have seen 
it when "set out" by some unskilful hand, with rivulets of 
pretty ribbons meandering from one common source, but 
with bits of the framework on which they rested showing 

Half-past eleven, and the seats specially reserved for 
holders of tickets are becoming full : elderly spinsters with 
poke bonnets and black mittens, pretty girls with full crino- 
lines and large brass crosses on their red-edged prayer-books, 
a good many serious young men, whose appearance gives 
me a general notion of the committee of a literary institu- 
tion, and a few languid and expensive men, who seem utterly 
lost, and gaze vacantly about them through rimless eye- 
glasses ; the clergy in great force — short stout old gentlemen 
with no necks to speak of, only crumpled rolls of white linen 
between their chins and their chests ; tall thin old gentlemen 
with throats like cranes, done up in stiff white stocks with 
palpable brass buckles showing over their coat-collars ; bland 
mellifluous young gentlemen in clear-starched dog-collars 
and M.B. waistcoats ; and a few sensible clergymen wearing 
their beards and not losing one whit of reverend or benign 
appearance thereby. I take my seat next a pompous old 
gentleman in shiny black, who wears a very singular pair of 
gloves made of a thin gray shiny silk with speckles cunningly 
inwoven, which make his hand look like a salmon's back, a 
stout old gentleman who pushes me more than I like, and 
then scowls at me, and then says to his daughter: "Too 
hot ! too close ! we'd better have stopped at Shooter's '111," 
in which sentiment I mentally concur. Now, the last vacant 


spaces between the schools are filled up, and the children 
are so tightly packed that one would think every square inch 
must have been measured beforehand and duly allotted. 
Each semicircle is like a sloping bed of pretty flowers. 
White is the prevailing colour, interspersed with lines of 
dark blue, light blue, slate, gray, and here and there a vivid 
bit of scarlet ; such coquettish little caps, puffed, and frilled, 
and puckered as though by the hands of the most expensive 
French clear-starchers ; such healthy happy little faces, with 
so much thoroughly English beauty of bright eye, and ruddy 
lip, and clear glowing complexion. Ah ! the expenditure of 
yellow soap that must take place on the morning of Inno- 
cents' Day ! All looked thoroughly clean and well, and, 
like the gentleman at his theological examination when 
asked to state which were the major and which were the 
minor prophets, I " wish to make no invidious distinctions." 
Yet I cannot refrain from placing on record that the girls of 
two of the schools had special adornments, the damsels of 
St. Botolph's, Aldgate, wearing a rose in their waistbands, 
while each of the little maidens of Aldgate Ward bore a 
nosegay of fresh wild flowers. 

Twelve o'clock, the children all rise up, and all heads 
are turned towards the south door. I look round in the 
direction and behold a fat elderly man, in a black gown 
and a curled wig, like a barrister, painfully toiling under 
the weight of an enormous gilt mace, which he carries 
across his arms after the fashion of pantomime-warriors 
generally. My pompous neighbour stirs up his daughter 
with his elbow, and whispers, with great reverence, " The 
Lord Mayor, my dear ! " This great magnate is, however, 
unable to be present, but sends as his representative an 
alderman. There are the sheriffs appropriately dressed, 
this broiling June day, in scarlet gowns trimmed with fur, 
wearing enormous chains, and looking altogether cool and 
comfortable. They are ushered into their seats with much 


ceremony, the elderly barrister puts the mace across the 
top of a pew, and seats himself immediately under the 
pulpit, in an exhausted condition. Two clergymen appear 
behind a raised table covered with red cloth ; and, at a 
given signal, the children proceed to their prefatory prayer, 
all the girls covering their faces simultaneously with their 
little white aprons ; this has a most singular effect, and, 
for the space of a minute, the whole amphitheatre looks as 
though populated with those " veiled vestals " with whose 
appearance the cunning sculptor-hand of Signor Monti 
made us familiar. 

When the children rise again, there rises simultaneously 
in a tall red box, like a Punch's show with the top off, an 
energetic figure in a surplice, armed with a long stick ; the 
organ begins to play, and, led by the man in the surplice, 
the children commence the Hundredth Psalm, which is 
sung in alternate verses, the children on the right taking 
the first verse, and the second being taken up by those on 
the left. I had heard much of this performance, and, like 
all those things of which we hear much, I was a little 
disappointed. I had heard of people being very much 
affected ; of their bursting into tears, and showing other 
signs of being overcome. I saw nothing of this. The 
voices of the children were fresh, pure, and ringing ; 
but where I stood at least, very close to the choir, there 
was a shrillness in the tone, which at times was discordant 
and almost painful. There was also a marked peculiarity 
in the strong sibilation given to the letter '• s " in any 
words in which it occurred. 

Several times during the ensuing service the children 
sang much in the same manner, and I began to think that 
all I had heard was overrated, when after a sermon, during 
which many of them had refreshed themselves with more 
than forty winks and considerably more than forty thousand 
nods, they burst into the glorious Hallelujah Chorus. The 



result was astonishing. I cannot describe it. At each 
repetition of the word " Hallelujah " by the four thousand 
fresh voices, you felt your eyes sparkle and your cheeks 
glow. There was a sense of mental and physical exhilaration 
which I not only felt myself, but marked in all around me. 
Now for the first time I understood how the effect of which 
I had been told had been produced ; now I comprehended 
how the "intelligent foreigner" (who is always brought 
forward as a reference) had said that such a performance 
could not be matched in the world. 

As I left the building the money-boxes were rattling 
again, and I, and many others, paid in our mites in 
gratitude for what we had seen and heard. I hope the 
children enjoyed themselves afterwards ; I hope they had 
not merely an intellectual treat. The end crowns the work, 
they say. In this case the work had been admirably per- 
formed, and I hope that the end which crowned it consisted 
of tea and buns. 



For the last twenty years of my life — and I am now only 
forty-five — I have been an old man, a heavy old man ; 
burnt-cork furrows have ploughed up my cheeks ; bald 
scalp wigs have worn away my once curly hair ; crow's-feet 
of the blackest Indian-ink have encircled my eyes. In the 
prime of my life I lost my individuality, and became " Old 
Foggles " — Old Foggles I have remained. It is not of 
myself, however, that I am about to speak ; my human, 
like my theatrical career, has been one of simple " general 
utility." He whose story I am going to relate was born 
to brighter and better things, and kicked down the ladder 
with his own foot when within reach of the topmost round. 
Twenty years ago I was engaged with Barker, who then 
managed the Flamborough Circuit, and, after playing at a 
few minor towns, we opened at Wealborough, the queen of 
the watering-places in that part of England, and Barker's 
surest card. An idle, pleasure-seeking, do-nothing kind 
of place was, and is, Wealborough. There are rows of 
grand stuccoed houses facing the sea, libraries, promenades, 
bands, old ruins, the very pitches for picnics, within an 
easy distance, horses for the swells to ride, officers for the 
ladies to flirt with, baths for the valetudinarians to endeavour 
to regain their used-up health in, and the prettiest- pro- 

T 2 


vincial theatre in the world for evening resort. Theatricals 
then were at no low ebb ; for there was the race week, and 
the assize week, the Mayor's bespeak, and the officers' 
bespeak ; and when things flagged Barker would send 
round to the different boarding-houses and hotels, and get 
the visitors to order what pieces they liked, pitting their 
tastes one against the other, as it were ; so that business 
was brisk, actors were happy, and there were no unpaid 
salaries — for, as they say in the profession, " the ghost 
walked" every Saturday morning. At the time I am speaking 
of, however, and for the first season for many years, matters 
were not so bright as we could have wished. The combination 
of circumstances was against us. An evangelical clergyman, 
a tall man, with long black hair and wild eyes, was attracting 
everybody's attention, and was weekly in the habit of 
inveighing against theatrical entertainments, and denoun- 
cing all those who attended them ; while Duffer, the low 
comedian, who had been engaged at a large expense, in 
consequence of the enormous hit he had made in the 
manufacturing districts, proved too strong for the refined 
taste of the Wealborough visitors, and by his full-flavoured 
speeches, eked out by appropriate gesture, frightened half 
the box audience from the theatre. We were playing to 
houses but a third full, and were getting utterly miserable 
and dispirited, when one day old Barker, whose face had 
for some time resembled a fiddle, his chin reaching to his 
knees, called us together on the stage, after rehearsal, and 
joyfully announced that he thought he had at last found a 
means for restoring our fallen fortunes. He told us that a 
young man, utterly unknown, had offered himself as the 
representative of those characters which among the public 
are known as the jeunes premiers, but which we call " first 
juvenile tragedy ; " that he had tried him privately, engaged 
him at once, and that, if he did not make a tremendous 
hit next Monday, the occasion of the officers' bespeak, 


in Hamlet, he, Barker, did not know what was what in 
theatrical matters. The next day came, and the neophyte, 
who was introduced under the name of Dacre, attended 
rehearsal ; he Avas tall, handsome, and evidently a perfect 
gentleman j he Avent through the part quietly and sensibly 
enough, but made no new points and gave no exaggerated 
readings ; so that Duffer, the Ioav comedian, by nature a 
morose and miserable man, and made more surly by his 
recent failure at Wealborough, shrugged his shoulders, and 
prophesied the speedy closing of the theatre. I myself 
held a different opinion ; I thought the young man spoke 
with ease and judgment ; that he was reserving himself for 
his audience ; and moreover that, in the presence of none 
but the other actors, Avho were grimly polite, and evidently 
predisposed against him, he felt nervous and constrained. 
I felt all this, but I said nothing, being naturally a reserved 
and cautious man. When the night came, the house Avas 
croAvded to the ceiling. Barker, Avho well kneAv hoAv to 
work the oracle in such cases, had been about the town 
talking incessantly of the new actor, of his handsome 
person, his gentlemanly manners, the mystery of his posi- 
tion, coming no one kneAv whither, being no one knew what; 
and, in fact, had so excited public curiosity that all the 
leading people of the place Avere at the theatre. The 
private boxes Avere filled with the officers, handsome, vapid, 
and inane, thankful for the chance of any excitement, how- 
ever small, to relieve the perpetual ennui ; in the centre of 
the house sat Fodder, the genius of Wealborough, who had 
written seventeen five-act tragedies, one of which had been 
acted in London and damned, and who was intimately con- 
nected Avith the stage, his uncle having been godfather to 
Mr. Diddear ; the dress-circle was filled Avith the belles of 
the boarding-houses and their attendant cavaliers ; the pit 
Avas thronged with jolly young tradesmen and their Avives, 
soldiers in uniform, and a sprinkling of the maritime popu- 


lation of the place ; while in the gallery, wedged as it was 
from end to end with shirt-sleeved and perspiring youths, 
not a nut was heard to crack from the rise of the curtain 
until the end of the play, except once, at the first appear- 
ance of the Ghost of Hamlet senior, when the chemist's 
boy, a lad of weak intellect, whose bedroom looked upon 
the churchyard, shrieked aloud, and was led forth by the 
lobe of his ear by the constable in attendance. 

Talk of a success ! Such cheering was never heard in 
Wealborough theatre before or since ! After Dacre had 
been on the stage five minutes the applause began, and 
whenever he appeared it was renewed with tenfold vigour, 
until the curtain fell. The sympathy of the audience 
seemed to extend to those actors who were on the stage 
with him ; but they would brook no delay which kept their 
favourite from them, and Duffer, who was playing the First 
Gravedigger, and who, as a last hope of retrieving his lost 
character, had put on seventeen waistcoats, and began to 
gag the " argal " speech tremendously, very nearly got 
soundly hissed. When the curtain fell, Dacre was voci- 
ferously called for, and his appearance before the curtain 
was a perfect ovation ; the ladies waved their handkerchiefs 
— the officers nearly thumped the front of their boxes in — 
the pit and gallery shouted applause; while Podder, rising 
to his feet, spread his arms before him as if blessing the 
actor, and was heard to mutter, " The Swan ! the Swan ! " 
alluding, it is presumed, to Shakespeare — not Dacre. 
Barker was in the highest spirits, seized the new actor by 
both hands (we thought he was going to embrace him), and 
then and there invited him and the entire company to an 
extempore supper to be provided at the adjacent tavern. 
Dacre, however, declined on the plea of excitement and 
over-fatigue, and at once retired to his lodgings. From 
that night his success was complete ; he played the entire 
round of juvenile tragedy parts, and on each occasion to 


very large audiences ; he was the talk of the country for 
miles around ; all the provincial newspapers sang his 
praises, and soon the London theatrical journals began to 
speak of him, and to hope that a gentleman of such talent 
would soon visit the metropolis. 

All this time he maintained towards Barker and all the 
members of his company the most studied politeness, the 
most chilling courtesy; except on business topics he never 
spoke — resolutely declined all attempts at intimacy, refused 
to partake of the proffered beer or spirits with which these 
jolly fellows refresh themselves of an evening ; and upon 
one occasion, when the aforenamed Duffer was uttering 
specially blasphemous language, rebuked him openly in 
the dressing-room, and, on receiving an insolent answer, 
administered to him such a shaking that Duffer nearly 
swallowed his false teeth. I do not think that I myself, 
though much quieter and steadier than the rest of the 
company, should ever have become intimate with Dacre 
but for the following circumstance : I was in the habit, 
when I had a new part to learn, of taking my manuscript in 
my pocket and going for a long walk upon the sands — -not 
to the fashionable part, where the horses were perpetually 
galloping, the people promenading, and the children playing 
— but far away on the other side of the town, where I had 
it all to myself, and could declaim, and spout, and gesticu- 
late as much as I pleased, without being taken for a lunatic. 
Several times, during my rambles, I had encountered Dacre 
walking with a lady of slight and elegant figure, closely 
veiled ; but nothing beyond a mere bow of recognition had 
passed between us ; one day, however, while declaiming to 
the winds the friendship I, as Colonel Damas, held for Claude 
Melnotte, in Bulwer's Lady of Lyons, then just produced, I 
thought I heard a cry for help, and looking round, perceived 
at some short distance Dacre kneeling by the extended 
form of the veiled mysterious lady. I hastened to him, 


and found that the lady, who he stated was his wife, had been 
rambling among the rocks, gathering wild flowers, when her 
foot slipped, and she fell, striking her temple against a 
sharp flint, and inflicted a wound from which the blood was 
slowly falling.. Her face, of a chiselled and classic beauty, 
was deadly pale, and she was senseless ; but we bathed the 
wound with water, which I scooped up in my hat, and she 
soon recovered sufficiently for us to lead her gently to Dacre's 
lodgings. These were situated in one of the oldest parts of 
the old town, overlooking the sea, far from the bustle and 
confusion of the fashionable part ; and after rendering all 
the service I could, I eventually took my leave. From that 
day I became a constant visitor to those rooms, and gradu- 
ally won the confidence and friendship of their occupiers ; 
many a night, after the theatre, I would accompany Dacre 
home, and after a light supper, prepared by his beautiful 
and affectionate wife, we would sit over the fire, while he, 
smoking an old German pipe, would talk of literature and 
poetry, or of what interested me even more — of his earlier 
life. He was the son of a wealthy Liverpool merchant, had 
been educated at a celebrated provincial school, and re- 
moved from thence to a German university, whence he 
only returned to find his father dead, his affairs hopelessly 
involved, and utter ruin staring him in the face. Without 
the smallest notion of business, and having always had a 
passion for acting, he had taken to the stage as a profession, 
and had offered himself to Barker, of whom he heard good 
reports ; bringing with him as his wife a young portionless 
girl, the daughter of a clergyman, to whom he had been 
attached since childhood, and who, at the period of their 
marriage, was gaining a subsistence as a governess in Liver- 
pool. But the manners and habits of his fellow-actors dis- 
gusted him : they were a loose-thinking, underbred, vulgar 
lot, to whom he could not introduce his pure-thinking, 
simple-minded wife, and with whom he himself had no feel- 

SAll'Dl/ST AND LAMPS. 297 

ing in common ; and he was but waiting an eligible oppor- 
tunity to remove to the metropolis, where he thought, and 
justly, that his talents would soon secure him a position in 
that charming artistic society for which he pined, and for 
which he felt himself peculiarly fitted. This opportunity 
soon came. I had one night been playing Sir Peter Teazle in 
The School for Sca?idal and had been struck by the vehe- 
ment applause and cries of " Bravo ! " in a strident voice, 
which had proceeded from one of the private boxes, when 
Dacre as Charles Surface made his appearance on the 
scene; and on going into the green-room after the curtain 
fell, I found a stout, middle-aged, black-whiskered, vulgar- 
looking man, dressed in the extreme of the fashion, standing 
in the middle of the room, and holding both Dacre's hands 
in his. This gentleman, I learned, was the well-known 
Mr. Batten Flote, manager of the Theatre Royal, Hatton 
Garden, who had come from town expressly to witness 
Dacre's performance. As I entered the room he was pour- 
ing forth the most profuse laudation. " Capital," he said, 
" capital, my boy ! There was the dash of Elliston, the 
grace of Kemble, and the rollicking humour of Wallack ! 
That's the sort of thing to bring 'em down ! Barker, my 
lad, you've been a fortunate fellow to get hold of such a 
trump card as this ! Let's have a bottle of sham together ! 
I'll stand it, and curse the expense ! " I well enough knew 
what this meant, and so did Barker ; he fought up against 
it, and tried to look cheerful. When Dacre gave him notice 
that he was about to leave him (which he did the next Satur- 
day), he gave vent to a burst of virtuous indignation, and 
bewailed the manner in which he had been treated ; then 
he made a faint offer of an additional five pounds a week, and 
finally took consolation by engaging a troop of performing 
dogs and monkeys, which he had heard of from a metro- 
politan correspondent, and getting a new piece written to 
display their acquirements. 


So Dacre left us ; he took a farewell benefit, when the 
house was thronged ; and he and I had a farewell chat, 
principally about his future. Mr. Flote had engaged him 
at an excellent salary, promised him the best parts in the 
best pieces, and pledged himself to forward his views in 
every way ; and as the young man told me all this, his eye 
lighted, and he appeared a different being from what I had 
ever seen him. The London public, he said, should see 
that the race of gentlemanly actors was not extinct ; that 
there were yet men who could understand the passions 
which they had to portray, and appreciate the language set 
down for them to declaim ; he would not content himself 
with the creations of the old dramatists, but he would be 
the reflex of modern characters, the men of the day should 
see themselves represented by one of themselves, one equally 
well born, equally well educated, equally well dressed, equally 
well behaved. His wife, too, instead of passing her dreary 
evenings in a wretched lodging, should have companions 
worthy of her — companions to whose society his name would 
be a passport — society in which the most celebrated in 
literature and art were happy to mix. So he rattled on, and 
I, delighted at his prospects, but very sad at his departure, 
listened to him far into the night. Then we parted, with 
many promises of long letters to be interchanged, and of 
descriptions of all that had happened — on his side at least 
for my life seemed planned out, one unvarying disma 
repetition of old men's characters in a country theatre. 

Dacre departed, and I was left alone, more alone even 
than I had been before I knew him, for he had inflicted me 
with his distaste for my professional brethren, and I mixed 
with them no more. So I walked upon the sands, and 
studied and read, and in my despair I even made friends 
with Podder, went to his room, drank weak tea, and listened 
to three of his tragedies without going to sleep. At last 
three weeks after Dacre left us, I reei ved from him a long 


letter and a batch of newspapers; he had appeared as Claude 
Melnotte, and created a tremendous sensation. The press 
had unanimously pronounced in his favour, and their verdict 
was backed by the enthusiasm of the public. His letter was 
written in the highest spirits : from first to last he had been 
received with shouts of applause ; a royal duke had come 
into the green-room when the play was over and begged to 
make his acquaintance ; he was proposed at The Thespis, 
the great Dramatic and Literary Club ; the wives of two or 
three well-known literary men had called upon Mrs. Dacre ; 
Mr. Flote was most kind and liberal, and everything was 
couleur de rose. 

Six months passed away; we had visited the dull inland 

towns on our circuit during the dull winter season, and had 

been doing but a dull business ; I had heard but seldom 

from Dacre, though the newspapers still continued to give 

the most flaming accounts of his success, when one day, 

soon after our return to Wealborough, Barker came to me 

with a face radiant with joy, and announced that Dacre was 

coming to us for a month ona" starring " engagement. I 

was hurt at not having heard this intelligence from my 

friend himself, but I reflected on the charms of his position 

and his numerous engagements, and anxiously expected his 

arrival. He came, and I was astonished at the difference 

in his appearance ; from a fresh-coloured handsome youth 

he had become a pale anxious man, still handsome, but oh ! 

so worn, so haggard-looking. The change was not confined 

to his appearance : now, instead of the old lodgings with 

their cracked furniture and their desolate sea-view, he took 

handsome rooms on the Marine Parade, in the very centre 

of the fashionable part of the town ; every afternoon he was 

to be seen among the loungers on the promenade ; he dined 

constantly with the officers and entered into every kind of 

gaiety, I might almost say dissipation. To his fellow-actors 

he had always been distant, now his manner was positively 


rude ; he avoided my society, and seemed ill at ease when- 
ever he encountered me in the street; worst of all, for whole 
evenings together he neglected the society of his wife, and 
would pass his time after the theatre in mess-rooms, at 
billiard-tables, among the loose visitors to the town, and 
several times he was late in his arrival at the theatre, and 
when he did come he was evidently flushed with wine, most 
odd and incoherent in his speech. That I grieved deeply 
over this state of affairs I need scarcely say, and, after some 
deliberation, I took upon myself to speak to Dacre on the 
subject ; but his reply was so rude, so angry and decisive, 
that I saw at once all intervention was hopeless. He finished 
his engagement at Wealborough and returned to London, 
and from that time forth the accounts I received from him 
were bad indeed. Among theatrical people there is a great 
freemasonry and brotherhood ; we provincial professionals 
hear of all the triumphs of our London brethren ; and if their 
successes travel quickly and are much talked about, what 
shall I say of their failures? Dacre's great success had 
made him many enemies ; and the moment that there was 
anything to say against him a hundred tongues were but too 
ready to be the bearers of the news. Rumours reached us 
at Wealborough of his unsteadiness, of his want of care for 
his reputation, of his passion for dissipation, for excitement, 
for drink ; " stars " on their travels reiterated these rumours, 
adding to them choice little bits of their own fabrication, 
and at last The Scarifier, an infamous weekly newspaper 
then in being, but now happily extinct, had weekly para- 
graphs in which Dacre's name was coupled with that of the 
loveliest and most abandoned women that ever disgraced the 
theatrical profession. 

About the time that these paragraphs appeared, I re- 
ceived an offer from the manager of the other great London 
theatre, the T. K.., Gray's Inn Lane, an engagement as actor 
and stage-manager ; and as, independently of the position 


and pecuniary emolument held out to me, I saw an oppor- 
tunity of once more meeting Dacre, and perhaps of rescuing 
him from the abyss into which he had plunged, I gladly 
availed myself of it. Curiously enough, immediately after 
my arrival in London, the manager told me he wished to 
employ me on a rather delicate mission. Mr. Dacre, he 
said, had quarrelled with the Hatton Garden proprietors, 
and he was most anxious to engage him for the Gray's Inn 
Lane Theatre. He, the manager, had heard of my former 
intimacy with Dacre : would I now consent to be his am- 
bassador ? Delighted at the thought of once more seeing 
m'y friend, and thinking nothing of our recent quarrel, I 
consented. The next day I called on Dacre at an address 
in Brompton, which the manager had given me, and found 
him sitting in a room most elegantly furnished, opening into 
a little conservatory and garden. He was dressed in a 
handsome dressing-gown, Turkish trousers and slippers, and 
was lounging in a large arm-chair near an open piano ; on a 
round table in the centre of the room was a confused litter 
of playbills, manuscript " parts," books, light-kid gloves, 
some of the smallest size, some loose silver, and fragments 
and ashes of cigars ; on the wall hung a portrait of himself 
as Hamlet opposite to a print of Mrs. Lurley (the lady with 
whom his name had been associated in The Scarifier}, in her 
favourite character of the Demon Page ; on the sofa lay a 
handsome Indian shawl, and an elegant airy fabric of black 
lace, which looked like a bird-nest, but was a bonnet. I 
noticed all these things as I entered, and my heart sank 
within me as I marked them. Dacre himself had much 
changed ; he had lost all his youthful symmetry, and had 
become a stout, bloated, unwholesome-looking man. He 
received me coolly enough, but Avhen he heard my business 
he warmed into life ; and after listening to the terms pro- 
posed, accepted with an eagerness which I thought sus- 
picious. Taking courage at his altered manner, I asked 


after his wife. He became confused, hesitated, stammered, 
walked across to the cellaret, filled a liqueur-glass of brandy, 
which he drank, and then told me that she was not well, 
that she was out of town, that — in fact what the devil busi- 
ness was it of mine ? I was about to reply, angrily enough 
this time, for his manner was most rude, and I knew I had 
right on my side, when a pert-looking lady's-maid entered 
the room and told Dacre that " the brougham was at the 
door, and missis was tired of waiting." He reddened as he 
heard this, muttered some half-inaudible excuse about " a 
matter of business," and bowed me out of the room. The 
next day, and for several days after, he attended rehearsal 
with great punctuality, and entered into the business of the 
piece with apparent attention ; he was evidently striving to 
keep up his character, which had been a little damaged by 
the version of his quarrel with the Hatton Garden people, 
which Flote had circulated. To me his conduct was stu- 
diously polite : he consulted me as to setting of the scenes 
and the arrangements of the stage, but except on purely 
business questions he never addressed me. 

The night of his first appearance at the Gray's Inn Lane 
Theatre arrived, a night which, to whatever age I may live, 
I shall never forget. Dacre's separation from Flote had 
caused a great excitement in the theatrical world, and all 
kinds of reasons were alleged for it ; and on this night the 
house was crammed, many friends of Dacre and many sup- 
porters of Flote being among the audience. The play was 
a new five-act tragedy by a gentleman who has now made 
himself a name among the first dramatists of modern times ; 
and all the London critical world was on tiptoe with 

The curtain rose, and the beautiful setting of the scene 
received a volley of applause ; two or three minor person- 
ages then entered and the audience settled themselves down, 
waiting in dead silence for Dacre's appearance. I saw him 


for a minute before he went on to the stage, and noticed 
that he looked flushed and excited ; but, busied as I was 
with matter of minor detail, I had not time to exchange a 
word with him. His cue was given and he rushed upon 
the stage ; a thunder of applause greeted him, mixed with 
a few sibilations, which had only the effect of renewing and 
redoubling the approbation; he took off his hat in recognition 
of the reception, but in doing so he staggered, and had to 
clutch at a neighbouring table. Then he essayed to speak; but 
the words gurgled in his throat and he was inarticulate ; a cold 
shiver ran through me as I stood at the wing ; I saw at once 
the state of the case — he was drunk ! The audience per- 
ceived it as readily as I did, a buzz ran round the house, a 
murmur, and then from boxes, pit, and gallery arose a storm 
of hissing and execration. Twice Dacre essayed to exert 
himself, twice he stepped forward and endeavoured to 
speak ; but in vain. Stupefied with drink, dazzled by the 
glare of the lights, and maddened by the howling of the 
mob in front of him, he was fairly cowed, and after taking 
one frightened glance around, rushed madly from the stage 
and from the theatre. 

After this fatal night I did not see Dacre again for many 
months ; for though the management boldly contradicted 
the report of his drunkenness, and advertised boldly that 
the whole scene was the result of a scheme concocted by 
the enemies of the theatre, he never could be s induced to 
return to the Gray's Inn Lane boards. Falling lower and 
lower in the social scale, he played for a week or two at a 
time at one after another of those dramatic "saloons," half- 
theatre, half-public-house, with which the East-end of London 
is thickly studded ; then went for a flying visit into the 
provinces, where he found his fame and position gone, and 
returned to the metropolis and his East-end patrons. I 
myself had also had my reverses ©f fortune ; the manager 
of the Gray's Inn Lane Theatre seemed to consider from 


my previous intimacy with Dacre that I ought to bear some 
share in his failure, and made a point of snubhing me so 
outrageously that we soon parted company. I returned 
once more to Barker, who was glad enough to see me, 
though he did not forget to point the moral of that pleasant 
proverb relative to pride having a fall, in the presence of 
the whole company ; and after being with him some time, 
I at last, through the medium of an agent, made an engage- 
ment with the manager of an American troupe, who was 
about to make a theatrical tour through California. 

At length, a few nights before I started for Liverpool to 
embark, and as I was sitting musing over past and future 
days, the servant of my lodgings brought me a small note, 
for an answer to which she said the messenger waited. It 
was written in a hurried tremulous female hand, and signed 
"Emily Dacre." The writer stated that her husband was 
dangerously ill, and implored me, for the love of heaven, 
for the sake of our old friendship, to follow the messenger 
and come and see him. I hesitated but the instant ; then 
casting aside all thought of danger, I seized my hat, and, 
preceded by a ragged boy who had brought the note, 
hurried into the streets. Across broad thoroughfares, and 
far away into a labyrinth of miserable little streets and 
courts, I followed this will-o'-the-wisp — streets where pinch- 
ing and unwholesome poverty reigned triumphant, and 
where the foul miasma was already rising on the damp 
evening air — streets where the shops were all small and all 
with unglazed windows and flaring gas-lights, where every- 
thing was very cheap and horribly nasty; where the nostrils 
were offended with rank exhalations from stale herrings and 
old clothes, and where vice and misery in their most loath- 
some aspects met the eye. At last he stopped before one 
of the meanest private houses in the meanest street we had 
yet come through (though the neighbourhood was Clerken- 
well, where all the streets are mean enough), and pushing the 
door open with his hand, beckoned me to follow him. He 


preceded me to the second-floor, where he silently pointed 
to a door, and apparently delighted at having discharged 
his mission, instantly vanished down the stairs. I rapped, 
and, in obedience to a faint cry of " Come in," entered. 

I was prepared for much, but what I then saw nearly 
overcame me ; there was a swelling in my throat, a 
trembling of my limbs, and for a minute I felt unable to 
step forward. On a wretched truckle-bed, covered by a few 
miserable rags, lay Dacre, worn and reduced almost to a 
skeleton. He was asleep in that fitful uneasy slumber, that 
mockery of rest, which is granted to the fevered. As I bent 
over him I saw that his face was ghastly pale, except just 
under the closed eyes, where were spread two hectic 
patches. His thin arm lay outside the coverlit, and the 
attenuated fingers of his transparent hand twitched nervously 
with every respiration. His poor wife, so changed from the 
lovely girl I had known at Wealborough, so pallid and woe- 
begone, looking, in fact, so starved, sat on a broken rush- 
bottomed chair by the bedside ; near her stood a rickety 
table with a few medicine-bottles, and the dried-up half of a 
lemon; an old felt-hat with a broken feather, an old cotton- 
velvet cloak with scraps of torn and tawdry lace hanging 
from it, and a pair of stage-shoes with red heels, were 
huddled together in a corner of the room. The poor 
woman told me, the tears streaming down her cheeks the 
while, that the dreadful propensity for drink had grown 
upon him hour by hour and day by day ; that it had lost 
him every engagement, no manager caring to run the risk 
of his non-appearance at the theatre ; and that for the past 
few days since he had been attacked with fever and 
delirium, they had been nearly destitute — the proceeds of 
the sale of his clothes being all they had to depend upon 
for support. The people of the house, she said, had been 
very kind to her, and had sent for the parish doctor, who 
came two or three times and sent medicine, but gave very 
little hope of his patient's recovery; indeed that morning he 


had so evaded her questions, and shaken his head so 
solemnly, that she was terrified at his manner, and had 
ventured to solicit my presence and assistance. 

A low moan from the sufferer here arrested her speech, 
and she ran quickly to the bedside. I turned and saw 
Dacre sitting up in the bed and resting on his elbow. So 
completely had drink and illness done their work that I 
should scarcely have recognised him : his long black hair 
fell in a tangled heap over his forehead; his thin hollow 
cheeks, ordinarily, after professional custom, so closely 
shaved, were now covered with thick black bristles; while his 
eyes, before so calm and steadfast, now glared wildly round 
him. I advanced and took his poor wasted hand, so hot 
and dry, between mine, said a few words of consolation, 
and trusted he felt better after his sleep. He gazed at 
me without any sign of recognition. "Ah, sleep!" he 
murmured, "nature's soft nurse ! steep my senses in forget- 
fulness! Oh, my God, I wish she could, I wish she could!" 
He burst into a lit of sobbing, and hid his head between 
his hands. His poor wife advanced, and touched him 
gently on the shoulder. " Here is your old friend, 
Charles," she said; "your old friend from Wealborough, 
you know !" At the last words he raised his head. 
" Wealborough ! " he cried. " What do you know of 
Wealborough ? Yes, yes, we'll go back there ; Barker, 
Foggles, I know them all — the long walks, the sea-shore, 
the blue, the fresh, the ever free ! The mess-room too, and 
the claret, and — hush ! the overture's on. Not yet, not yet 
— now." And he raised himself in the bed — " Bravo ! 
bravo ! no gagging, the real words — stick to your author, sir 
— stick to your author ! What a reception — again — again — 
Will they never let me speak for applause ? " 

During his ravings he bowed his head repeatedly ; then, 
suddenly seizing me by the shoulder, he crept behind me, 
muttering in my ear: "Do you hear that hiss ? — paid to do 
it ; s ir — paid by — no ! there ! there it is — that serpent there 


at the back of the house — see him slowly unwinding his 
coils ! It is from him that awful sound comes ! See, he's 
creeping closer — he's about to spring upon me, and crush 
me in his folds. Help I help ! Some drink ; give me some 
drink, Titinius, like a sick girl, like a sick girl ! " During 
this paroxysm he had clutched my shoulder tightly, and 
almost screamed aloud ; but as he spoke the last words his 
grasp relaxed, he fell softly back upon the pillow, and slept 
quietly and peacefully. So we watched him during the 
night ; but towards morning he began to mutter in his 
sleep. He was apparently living again his student days, 
for he murmured scraps of German and of Latin, not as it 
is taught in England, but with a foreign accent; his face 
wore a sweet smile, and he seemed happy. About day 
break he opened his eyes and clasped his hands, and 
moved his lips apparently in prayer. Then turning towards 
us, began speaking in disjointed sentences that magnificent 
soliloquy which the wisest and sweetest of poets has put 
into the mouth of Hamlet, commencing, " To be or not to 
be ? " So he continued for some time, muttering occasionally 
scraps of the same speech. At length a peculiar light 
broke over his countenance, and he beckoned to his trem- 
bling wife, who hastened to him. Twining his feeble arms 
around her, he imprinted one long kiss upon her forehead, 
then murmuring in an almost inaudible voice, " Nymph ! 
in thine orisons be all my sins remembered," his grasp 
relaxed, and he fell back dead ! 

So ended the career of one who, under different cir- 
cumstances and beyond the influence of those temptations 
which are the curse of the theatrical profession, might have 
lived long and happily, and died with weeping children 
round his bed. Before I left London I saw him decently 
buried in one of the metropolitan cemeteries ; and, further, 
induced the relatives of his poor widow to receive her to 
her former home. 

u 2 



To the mercantile world the name of Basinghall Street is 
inseparably connected with the Bankruptcy Court, and the 
title of the present paper, cursorily glanced at, would argue 
but badly for the respectability of its author. Miserly 
uncles would shake their heads and glorify at the fulfilment 
of their predictions as to their nephew's ultimate end ; 
good-natured friends, and never-failing dinner convives, 
supper droppers-in, pipe-smokers and grog-drinkers, would 
shrug their shoulders and call upon each other to testify 
how often they had said that such a style of living could 
not continue ; the half-crown borrowers, charity seekers, 
sick-wife -and- children possessors, and all those purse- 
blisters who form a portion of every man's acquaintance, 
would crow and chuckle over his fallen body, and quickly 
make off to fatten on some other friend who yet could be 
made to bleed. But, though it has not come to this ; 
though, being a simple clerk, I have not yet taken brevet 
rank as a " trader " for the purpose of evading my creditors 
under the Bankruptcy Laws ; though I have not sold a few 
lucifer-matches to a convenient friend for the purpose of 
.appearing as a timber-merchant, nor made over to my aunt 
any of my undoubted (Wardour Street) Correggios to 
figure as a picture-dealer ; though I have not been " sup- 


ported" by Mr. Linklater, or "opposed" by Mr. Sargood; 
though Quilter and Ball have not yet received instructions 
to prepare my accounts ; though the official assignee has 
had nothing to do with me, and though the learned com- 
missioner has not been compelled, as a matter of duty, to 
suspend my certificate for six months, which is then to be 
of the third class — yet have I been lectured in Basinghall 
Street, and pretty severely too. 

This is how it came to pass. Schmook, who is the 
friend of my bosom, and an opulent German merchant in 
Austin Friars, called on me the other day, and, having 
discussed the late fight, the new opera, the robbery at the 
Union Bank, and other popular topics, told me he could 
send me to a great entertainment in the City. I replied, 
with my usual modesty, that in such matters I had a toler- 
ably large acquaintance. I mentioned my experience of 
Lord Mayors' banquets, and I enlarged, with playful 
humour as I thought, on the tepid collation thereat spread 
before you, on the ridiculous solemnity of the loving-cup, 
with its absurd speech, its nods and rim-wiping ; on the 
preposterous stentorian toast-master, with his " Pray si-lence 
for the chee-aw ! " on the buttered toasts and the drunken 
waiters, and the general imbecility of the whole affair. 
Diverging therefrom, I discoursed learnedly on the snug 
little dinners of City companies, from the gorgeous display 
of the Goldsmiths down to the humble but convivial spread 
of the Barbers. Schmook was touched, and it was some 
few minutes before he could explain that it was to a mental 
and not a corporeal feast that he wished to send me. At 
length he stammered out, " The Cresham legshure ! Ver' 
zientifig ! kost nichts ! noting to bay ! " and vanished 

Schmook not coining to see me again, I had forgottt 
the subject of our conversation, when I lighted upon an 
advertisement in a daily paper setting forth that the 


Gresham lectures for this Easter term would be given — - 
certain subjects on certain named days — in the theatre of 
the Gresham College in Basinghall Street, in Latin at twelve 
o'clock, and in English at one. Wishing to know some- 
thing of the origin and intent of these lectures, I applied 
to my friend Veneer, the well-known archaeologist and 
F.S.A., but he was so engaged on his forthcoming pamphlet 
on Cuneiform Inscriptions that he merely placed in my 
hands a copy of Maunder's Biographical Treasury, open at 
the name of Sir Thomas Gresham, the page containing 
whose biography was surrounded with choice maxims. I 
proceeded with the biography, and learned that the good 
old " royal merchant" had by will founded seven lectureships 
for professors of the " seven liberal sciences," and that 
their lectures were to be given, gratis, to the people. And 
I determined to profit by Sir Thomas Gresham's bounty. 

The social science which I chose to be lectured on was 
rhetoric, thinking I might gain a few hints for improving 
myself in neat after-dinner speeches and toast-proposings ; 
and at a few minutes before noon on the first day, when 
this subject stood for discussion on the syllabus, I pre- 
sented myself at the Gresham College. A pleasant-faced 
beadle, gorgeous in blue broadcloth and gold, and with 
the beaver-iest hat I had ever seen — a cocked-hat bound 
with lace like the Captain's in Black-eyed Susan — was 
standing in the hall, and to him I addressed myself, asking 
where the lecture was given. 

" In the theatre, upstairs, sir. Come at one, and you'll 
hear it in English." 

" Isn't it given in Latin at twelve ? " 

" Lor' bless you, not unless there's three people present,, 
and there never is ! I give 'em five minutes, but they never 
come ! Pity, ain't it ? He's here, all ready " (jerking his 
head towards an inner door), " he's got it with him ; but 
there's never anybody to hear him, leastways werry seldom, 


and then if there is three or four come in for shelter out of 
the rain or such-like, d'rectly he begins in Latin, and they 
can't understand him, they gets up and goes away ! " 

" Then they do come to the English lectures ? " 

" Bless you, yes ; to some of them, lots, 'specially the 
music and the 'stronomy. Ladies come — lots of 'em — and 
the clerks out of the counting-houses hereabouts, for the 
music lecture's in the evening, you know ; and they bring 
ladies with 'em — ah, maybe as many as a hundred ! " 

" Well, I'll go up and take my chance of somebody 

" You're welcome, sir, but I'm afraid you'll be the only 

I went upstairs, and soon found myself in one of the 
prettiest lecture-theatres I had ever seen, semicircular in 
shape, and fitted with benches, rising one above the other, 
and capable of holding some five hundred people. The 
space allotted to the lecturer was partitioned off by a stout 
panelling, and was fitted with a red-covered table and a high- 
standing desk. There was also an enormous slate with 
traces of recent diagrams still unobliterated, and an indes- 
cribable something, like a gymnastic machine, behind it. 
I took a seat on one of the topmost benches, and remained 
there a solemn five minutes, in the midst of a silence and 
desolation quite appalling. At last I heard a footstep on 
the stone stairs, and I hoped, but it was the beadle's. " I 
told you so," he said, pleasantly. " I always gives 'em five 
minutes ; now, if you want to hear the lecture, come again 
at one ! " 

I went up at one, and found what a Frenchman would 
call " du monde." There must have been fully seventeen 
people present. Close down against the rail partitioning off 
the lecturer's stage, was a crushed and spiritless man, with 
a fluffy head of hair, like a Chinchilla boa or an Angora cat, 
who seemed in the lowest possible spirits : leaning his head 


against the oaken panelling in front of him, he kept groaning 
audibly Immediately behind him sat two seedy old women, 
in damp, mildewed, lustreless black, with smashed bonnets, 
and long, black, perspiry old gloves, the fingers of which, 
far too long, doubled over as far as the knuckles. They 
looked more like superannuated pew-openers than old 
ladies, and kept conversing in a hoarse whisper, at every 
sentence addressing each other as " mem." A little higher 
up, a fair-haired, light-whiskered man had ensconced him- 
self against one of the pillars, and was cutting his nails. 
He was properly balanced on the other side of the hall by a 
black-bearded man, leaning against the opposite pillar, who 
scratched his head. Close by me, at the upper portion of 
the hall, were a very pretty girl and a savage fidgety old 
woman, probably her aunt. Next to the aunt, a spry man 
with blue spectacles, who commenced taking notes as soon 
as the lecturer opened his mouth — a man with a red nose 
and a moist eye, and a general notion of rum-and-water 
about him — probably in the appalling-accident, devouring- 
element, and prodigious-gooseberry line of literature ; a 
misanthropic shoemaker, having on the bench beside him a 
blue bag bursting with boots, which diffused an acrid smell 
of leather and blacking; and a miserable old man in a faded 
camlet cloak, who sat munching an Abernethy biscuit 
between his toothless gums, and snowing himself all over 
with the fragments — made up our company. After the 
lecture had proceeded about five minutes, the door opened, 
and a thin, sharp-faced man, in very short trousers, very 
dirty white socks and low pumps, advanced two paces into 
the room, but he looked round deliberately, and after saying 
quietly : " Dear me ! ah !" as though he had made a mistake, 
turned round and retreated. 

At a few minutes after one, a very tall gentleman in a 
Master of Arts gown appeared at the lecture-table, and 
made a little bow. We got up a feeble round of applause to 


receive him — such applause as three umbrellas and two pair 
of hands could produce — but he bobbed in acknowledgment 
of it, looked up at the gallery, which was perfectly empty, 
and commenced. He had such a low opinion of us, his 
audience, that he thought we could not read the syllabus, 
for, instead of Rhetoric, his lecture, he told us, was upon 
Taste. I am, I trust, a patient hearer. I have lectured 
myself, and have a feeling for the position of a man being 
compelled to stand up and endeavour to win the attention 
of a stupid and scanty audience. I think there are very few 
men in London who have been better bored than I have in 
the course of my life ; but I am bound to say that anything 
more appallingly dreary and uninteresting than the tall 
gentleman's discourse I never listened to. The matter was 
prosaic, rechauffe, utterly void of originality, and thoroughly 
wearying ; the manner was that fatal sing-song generally 
indulged in by the English clergy, interspersed with constant 
desk-smitings, and with perpetual eye-reference to the 
gallery, where there was no one to respond. The effect 
upon the audience was tremendous : the Chinchilla-headed 
man, more crushed than ever, made a perfect St. Denis of 
himself, and had nothing mortal above the collar of his 
coat ; the light-whiskered man cut his nails to the quick in 
an agony of nervousness, and his black-bearded opposite 
scalped himself in despair; the pretty girl went to sleep, 
and was roused at intervals by parasol-thrusts from her 
savage aunt ; the "liner" shut up his note-book and 
amused himself by reading some of the previous produc- 
tions on flimsy paper; the shoemaker glared indignantly, 
first at the lecturer, and then at anyone whom he could 
seduce into an eye-duel ; and the old Abemethy-eater 
betook himself to repairing a rent in his camlet cloak with 
a needle and thread. As for myself, I bore it patiently as 
long as I could, then I yawned and fidgeted, and at length 
taking advantage of my proximity to the door, I rose up 


quietly, and slipped out, the last words echoing on my ear 
being, "This theory is that of Brown, and for further parti- 
culars I refer you to his work on Intellectual Philosophy ; " 
a work which, it strikes me, was doubtless to be found on 
the book-shelves of all the audience. 

As I walked home, I pondered on the fitness of these 
things, and wondered whether, in the strange course of 
events, the law would ever be able to comply less with the 
letter, and more with the spirit, of the intentions of a good 
and great man ; and if so, whether instead of an unintelli- 
gible Latin lecture, and a preposterous English one, it would 
ever provide really good intellectual and moral culture 
gratis for London citizens, as was undoubtedly intended by 
the brave old Sir Thomas Gresham. 



At last my guilty wishes are fulfilled ! At last I am enabled 
to look back into the past, and think that one great object 
of my life has been realised, for I have seen a ghost ! 
Shade of (ah ! by-the-way, I forget the name of the shade, 
and I've left the document which could inform me in my 
overcoat pocket ! — never mind !) — sacred shade, who ap- 
peared simultaneously to me and to some hundreds of 
entranced people, thou hast, so far as I am concerned, set 
the vexed question of apparitions at rest for ever. My 
interest in the ghost subject has been intense. I have read 
every story bearing upon it, and worked myself up to a 
delightful pitch of agonised excitement. Alone, and in the 
dead of night, do I peruse the precious volumes ; the mere 
fact of the scene being laid in " an old castle in the Black 
Forest/' gives me a pleasing sensation of terror ; when the 
student seated alone in the tapestried rooms finds " the 
lights begin to burn with a blue and spectral hue," I shake ; 
when there " reverberates through the long passages a 
dismal clanking of chains," I shiver ; finally, when " the. 
door bursts open with a tremendous crash," and there enters 
" a tall figure clothed in white, with one clot of gore imme- 
diately below its heart," I am in a state of transcendent 
bliss, and only long to have been in the student's place. 


Some years ago I thought I had a chance of realising my 
hopes. I read a book called, I think, The Nightgown of 
Nature, the author of which announced that he — or she — 
was thoroughly well acquainted with several houses where 
spectres appeared nightly with unexampled punctuality — 
houses " within a convenient distance from London, and 
accessible by rail," as house-agents say ; and I wrote to him 
or her — for the address of one of these houses, stating that 
I intended to pass a night there. He — or she — replied 
that though his — or her — statement was thoroughly correct, 
he — or she — must decline giving the address of any particular 
house, as such a course would be detrimental to the value 
of the property, and might render him — or her — liable to 
an action at law on the part of the landlord. So I was 

I heard, however, the other day, that a real ghost, real 
as to its unreality, its impalpability, its visionary nothingness, 
was to be seen in a remote and unknown region called 
Hoxton. I had previously heard that the same, or a similar 
spectre, haunted Regent Street ; but I laughed at the notion. 
Regent Street ! with the French boot-shop, and the ice- 
making man, and the Indian-pickle depot opposite ! A 
ghost in juxtaposition to electrical machines, a diver who 
raps his helmet with halfpence, and the awful insects in the 
drop of water ! But Hoxton — there was something ghostly 
in the very name, and the place itself was as unfamiliar to 
me as Tierra del Fuego. Nobody to whom I spoke knew 
anything about it ; they " had heard the name ; " it was 
" somewhere out north," they thought. Ah ! in an instant 
my fancy sketches the spot. A quaint old suburb, where 
the railway has not yet penetrated, where sleepy cows chew 
the cud of peace in quiet meadows, where ploughmen 
whistle o'er the lea (whatever that may happen to mean), 
where huge elms yet stand waving their giant limbs before 
square red-brick mansions. One of these mansions for 


years untenanted, roofless, dismantled, a murder was com- 
mitted in it years ago : an old man with silver hair, a spend- 
thrift nephew, a box of gold, a carving-knife, a well in 
garden where weapon is discovered years afterwards, a 
wailing cry at twelve p.m., a tottering figure wringing its 
hands — yes, that must be it, or something very like it ! I 
determined to go to Hoxton that night. 

There was no railway — so far I was right — and I went 
to my destination in a cab. After a little time I found we 
were striking out of the great thoroughfares of commerce 
into narrow by-lanes, where a more pastoral style of living 
prevailed ; where fried fish of a leathery appearance lay in 
tangled heaps on the slabs of windowless fish-shops ; where 
jocund butchers, seemingly on the best terms with their 
customers, kept up a perpetual chorus of " Buy, buy ! " and 
slapped the meat before them with a carving-knife and a 
gusto that together seemed to give quite an appetite to the 
hesitating purchaser. We passed several graveyards deep 
set in the midst of houses — dank, frouzy, rank, run-to-seed 
places, where Pelions of " Sacred to the memory " were 
heaped upon Ossas of " Here lieth the remains," and out 
of which the lank sapless grass trembled through the' railings 
and nodded feebly at the passers-by. Good places for 
ghosts these ! City ghosts of misers and confidential clerks, 
and trustees who committed suicide just before the young 
gentleman whom they had had in trust came of age and 
would have infallibly found out all about their iniquities. 
I peered out of the cab in quest of any chance apparition, 
but saw none ; and was very much astonished when the 
driver, to whom I had given particular instructions, pulled 
up before a brilliantly-lighted doorway, round which several 
cadgers were disporting themselves. These youths received 
me with great delight, and one said : " You come along with 
me, sir ! I'll take you to the hout and houtest old spectre 
in the neighb'r'ood. This way, sir!" He led the way 


along a lighted passage, between rough brick walls, until we 
arrived at a barrier, where — after a muttered conversation 
between my guide and the janitor — a shilling was demanded" 
of me, after paying which I was provided with a card talis- 
man, and left to find my way alone. Down a broad passage, 
on one side of which was a recess where sandwiches lay 
piled like deals in a timber-yard, where oranges were rolled 
up in pyramidal heaps of three feet high, and where there 
was so much ginger-beer that its simultaneous explosion 
must infallibly have blown the roof off the building, down a 
flight of asphalted stairs, at the bottom of which a fierce 
man wrung my card talisman from me and turned me into 
a large loose box, the door of which he shut behind me. 
A loose box with a couple of chairs in it, a looking-glass, a 
flap table — a loose box open on one side, looking through 
which opening I see hundreds of people ranged in tiers 
above each other. Turning to see what they are all intent 
on, I see a stage — I'm tricked ! I'm done ! the loose box 
is a private box, and I'm in a theatre ! 

Left to myself, what could I do but look at the stage, 
and, doing that, how could I fail to be intensely interested ? 
I speedily made myself acquainted with the legend being 
there theatrically developed, and, beyond that the colour 
was, perhaps, a little heightened, I did not find it more or 
less preposterously unlike anything that could, by any remote 
possibility, ever have occurred than is usual in dramatic 
legends. The scene of action being laid at the present 
time, I found the principal character represented to be a 
Baronet (he had a name, but he was invariably spoken of 
by everybody, either with yells of hatred or shoulder-shrugs 
of irony, as " the Baronet"), and certainly he was the most 
objectionable old gentleman I have ever seen. The mere 
fact of his walking about, in the present day, in a long 
claret-coloured coat, a low-crowned hat with a buckle in the 
front, and boots which, being apparently made of sticking- 


plaster, had tassels like bell-pulls, was in itself irritating ; 
but his moral conduct was horrible. He seemed to have 
an insane desire for the possession of his neighbours' 
property, not felonious in his intentions, but imbued with a 
buying mania, and rabidly ferocious when said neighbours 
refused to sell. First among his coveted possessions stood 
the house and garden of a clergyman's widow (no mistake 
about her widowhood ! the deepest black, and such a cap, 
all through the piece !), who obstinately refused to part with 
an inch of her ground. Baronet smiles blandly, and informs 
us that he will " have recourse to stratyjum." Widow has 
two daughters, one very deep-voiced and glum, the other 
with her hair parted on one side (which, theatrically, always 
means good nature), and funny. Funny daughter is beloved 
by Baronet's son — unpleasant youth in cords, top-boots, and 
a white hat, made up after Tom King the highwayman, vide 
Turpin's Ride to York; or, The Death of Black Bess (Marks, 
Seven Dials), passim. Baronet proposes that son should 
get clergyman's daughter to steal lease of premises, promising 
to set son up in life, and allow him to marry object of 
affections. Son agrees, works upon daughter's vanity ; 
daughter, who is vague in Debrett, is overcome by notion 

of being called the Right Honourable Mrs. , a title 

which, as the wife of a baronet's son, she is clearly entitled 
to — steals the lease, hands it to son, who hands it to 
Baronet, who, having got it, nobly repudiates not merely 
the whole transaction, but son into the bargain : tells him 
he is not son, but merely strange child left in his care, 
and comes down and winks at audience, who howl at him 
with rage. 

That was the most wonderful thing throughout the 
evgning, the contest between the audience and the Baronet. 
Whenever the Baronet made a successful move (and Vice 
had it all its own way for nearly a couple of hours), the 
audience howled and raved against him, called " Yah ! " 


whistled, shrieked, and hooted, and the Baronet advanced 
to the footlights and grinned across them, as though he 
should say : " I'm still all right, in spite of yo.u ! " When a 
villain, who, for a sum of money advanced by the Baronet, 
had murdered an old man, and was afterwards seized with 
remorse, stole the lease from the Baronet's pocket, the 
multitude in the theatre cheered vociferously ; but the 
Baronet, after proving that the purloined parchment was 
only a copy, and not the original document, which he 
still retained, calmly walked down to the front of the stage, 
and literally winked at the people, tapping his breast, 
where the lease was, in derision, and goading the audience 
to the extremity of frenzy. 

There were several pleasant episodes in which the 
Baronet was the mainspring : hiding fifty-pound notes in 
the glum sister's bundle, accusing her of robbery, and 
having her locked up in his house, whence she was rescued 
by the murdering villain who had previously (out of 
remorse) set the house on fire ; but at length the widow, 
who a minute before had been remarkably lively, and had 
"given it" to the Baronet with great vehemence and cap- 
shaking, suddenly declared her intention of dying ; and 
though a young gentleman with a sugar-loaf hat and a coat 
with a little cape to it, like the pictures of Robespierre, 
announced himself as a lawyer, who would defend her and 
hers against anything and everybody, she forthwith carried 
out her intention, sat down on a chair, and died out of 
hand. There was a faint pretext of sending for the doctor ; 
but there was an evident fear on the part of most lest that 
practitioner should really restore the patient, and thus 
burk the great effect of the piece ; so the idea was over- 
ruled, and the Baronet, advancing to the footlights, rubbed 
his hands in derision at the audience ; -and the audience 
cognisant of the fact that the decease of the widow was 
necessary to the subsequent appearance of her ghost 


merely answered with a subdued " Yah ! " At this point 
my former conductor opened the box-door and beckoned 
me out. " Gome in front," he said ; " it's ghost-time ! " 
The words thrilled to my very soul ; I followed him in 
silence, and took my place in the boxes, close by a lady 
whose time was principally occupied in giving natural 
sustenance to her infant, and an older female, apparently 
the child's grandmother, who was a victim to a disease 
which I believe is popularly known as the " rickets," and 
which impelled her at three-minute intervals to shudder 
throughout her frame, to rock herself to and fro, to stuff 
the carved and hooked black bone handle of an umbrella, 
that looked like a tied-up lettuce, into her mouth, and to 
grind out from between her teeth, clenched round the 
umbrella-handle : " Oh deary, deary me ! " On my other 
side were a youth and maiden, so devoted to each other 
that they never perceived my entrance into the box, and 
I had not merely to shout, but to shove, before I could 
effect a passage, when there was such a disentanglement 
of waists from arms, and interlaced hot hands, and lifting 
of heads from shoulders, that I felt uncomfortable and 
apologetic, whereas the real offenders speedily fell back 
into their old position, and evidently regarded me as a 
Byronic creature, to whom life was a blank. 

The ghost did not appear at once. Though the widow 
had slipped into a very stiff position in her chair, and 
everybody round her had said either " Ha ! " or " The 
fatal moment ! " or " Alas ! " or " All is over ! " as their 
several tastes led them, it was thought necessary to make 
the fact of her death yet more clear ; so upon the front 
parlour, where the sad occurrence took place, fell a vast 
body of clouds of the densest kind, out of which, to slow 
music, there came two or three ethereal persons with wings, 
which wagged in a suspicious manner, bearing the widow's 
body " aloft," as Air. Dibdin has it with reference to Tom 



Bowling, and thereby copying in the most direct and 
unequivocal manner (but not more directly and un- 
equivocally than I have seen it in theatres of grand repute, 
where critics babbled of the manager's transcendent stage- 
direction) Herr Lessing's picture of Leonore. To meet 
these, emerged, in mid-air from either side of the stage, 
other ethereal persons, also with wings, whose intended 
serenity of expression was greatly marred by the obstinacy 
of the machinery, which propelled them in severe jerks, at 
everyone of which the set smile on their faces faded into a 
mingled expression of acute bodily pain and awful terror 
lest they should fall down : while, on a string like larks or 
a rope like onions, there swayed to and fro across the 
proscenium a dozen of the stoutest and most unimaginative 
naked Cupids that ever got loose from a valentine, or were 
made by a property-man. 

As the act-drop fell upon this scene, which in itself 
represented something not to be met with in everyday life, 
some distrust was expressed in my neighbourhood lest there 
should be nothing more ghostly than we had just witnessed; 
but the old lady with the umbrella set us to rights by re- 
covering suddenly from a severe attack of rickets, and 
exclaiming : " Them ghosts ! Oh no, sir ! In the next ack 
we shall see her, and which the music will play up for us to 
give attention." So accordingly, when the fiddles wailed, 
and the trombone and clarionet prostrated themselves 
figuratively in the dust, I looked with all my eyes, and saw 
the curtain rise upon the Baronet's apartment, which was 
the most singularly-constructed room I ever beheld. The 
portion of the floor nearest to us was perfectly flat, as is the 
case with most floors, but after about three feet of flatness 
there rose in its centre, and stretching from side to side, a 
long, sloping, green mound, in military language a " glacis," 
up which the Baronet had to walk when he wanted to pro- 
ceed towards the back of the apartment, where all the chairs 


tables, and furniture generally had withdrawn themselves, 
and up which he himself climbed, as though M. Vauban 
had taken the place of Mr. Cubitt, and as though outworks 
and entrenchments were as common in London drawing- 
rooms as lounging-chairs and grand pianos. 

On the top of this entrenchment stood, on either side 
two thick dumpy pillars, supporting a heavy piece of 
masonry, which joined them together at the top, and which 
looked like a portion of the ruins of the Temple of the 
Sun at Baalbek seen through the wrong end of the opera- 
glass : or, to use an illustration nearer home, like the front 
of the catacombs of Kensal Green or Highgate cemeteries. 
Between these pillars was a hazy vista into which the 
Baronet walked, and seating himself on a stool in the corner, 
so as to be quite out of the way, commenced informing us 
(without any apparent necessity for the statement) of his 
disbelief in all supernatural appearances, and of his thorough 
contempt for Death — ha ! ha ! The second of the two 
vocal double-knocks given by him in ha ! ha ! had scarcely 
been given, when there appeared in the middle of the 
empty space behind the pillars a stereoscopic skeleton 
exactly like that which dances in the Fantoccini — so like, 
that one looked for the string which guides that puppet's 
movements (and which, of course, in the present instance, 
was not to be seen), and expected him momentarily to fall 
to pieces and re-unite in a comic manner. At this sight the 
Baronet appeared a little staggered ; he said, " Ha ! do I 
then behold thee ? " and retreated several paces on his 
heels, but recovering himself, exclaimed, " 'Tis a dream, an 
ill-yousion ! " and advanced towards the skeleton, which dis- 
appeared, to return immediately armed with a dart, or har- 
poon, with which it made several well-intentioned but 
harmless thrusts at the Baronet, who appeared immensely 
flabbergasted by the harpoon, and begged piteously to be 
spared. Either the skeleton was moved by the appeal or 

x 2 


he had work somewhere else, for he disappeared again ; and 
no sooner was he gone than the Baronet so plucked up that 
he declared he defied Death altogether, and was beginning 
to be offensively joyous, when in the place where the 
skeleton had been, appeared the ghost of the widow in her 
shroud ! No mistake about it now ! There she was, a little 
foreshortened, a little out of the perpendicular, leaning 
forward as though accustomed to a cramped and confined 
space, and not daring to stand upright ! For the Baronet 
this was, to use a vulgar metaphor, a "corker." He rubbed 
his head, but there was nothing there ; he tried a taunt, but 
the ghost answered him with deep-voiced briskness; he 
rushed towards her, and rushed right through her ! Finally, 
he picked up from the table, where, as we know, they always 
lie in libraries, a long sword, with which he aimed a very 
unskilful blow at his visitant. The sword passed through 
the ghost, who was apparently tickled, for it exclaimed, 
" Ha, ha ! " and disappeared, and the Baronet fell ex- 
hausted in the very spot where the ghost had been ! Up 
went the lights, down went the curtain, and the audience 
gave one great gasp of relief, and pretended they hadn't 
been frightened — which they had ! 

Unquestionably ! undoubtedly ! The skeleton had been 
a failure ; ribalds in the pit had mocked at him — had given 
tremulous cries of feigned terror — shouted " O-oh ! m — y ! " 
and pretended to bury their heads in their jacket-collars ; 
boys in the gallery had called upon him to dance, and had 
invited their friends to " look at his crinoline ; " the arm of 
the youth in front of me tightened round the waist of the 
maiden with evident conveyance of the idea that that alone 
could them part ; and the old lady with the umbrella had 
considered him a "mangy lot." But the ghost was a very 
different matter ; when it appeared, not a sound in the pit, 
not a whisper in the gallery ; all open-mouthed, eager, 
tremulous excitement ! The old grandmother clasped the 


umbrella like a divining-rod, and muttered a hoarse " Deary 
— dea — ry me ! " the mother let the infant fall flat and 
flaccid on her lap, the youth's arm unbent, and the maiden 
rising stiffly three inches from her seat, said, " Go'as ! " and 
remained rigid. Only one sound floated on the air, and 
that was emitted by a French gentleman, with more buttons 
on his waistcoat than I ever saw on a similar amount of 
cloth (how on earth did a foreigner penetrate to Hoxton ?), 
who clutched his curly-brimmed hat between his fat fists, 
and hissed out : '• A — h ! superbe ! '' 
It was his testimony, and it is mine. 



At five o'clock on the evening of the 31st of December, 
1849, Mr. Twincli, of Grosvenor Street, rushed into his 
dining-room with a packet in his hand, sat down at a little 
Davenport writing-table in the window, and scribbled off 
the following letter : 

" My dear Madam, — I am delighted to say that I 
have been able to keep my word, and herewith send you 
what you require. With best compliments, I am, 
" Faithfully yours, 

"Paynham Twinch." 

This note he folded round the packet, placed both in a 
stout envelope, which he addressed " Miss L. Pemberton, 
The Grove, Heavitree, near Exeter ; " carried the packet 
to a neighbouring receiving-office, caused it to be duly 
registered, and with the receipt in his pocket returned home. 

Miss Letitia Pemberton was my father's youngest sister, 
a maiden lady of middle age, kind, amiable, and accom- 
plished, whom everybody liked for her good temper, and 
whom many of us younger ones regarded with deep interest 
on account of what we were pleased to term " her romance." 
For when Aunt Letitia was a girl she was very pretty, and 
was a county beaut}', and a reigning toast for miles round : 
she had scores of admirers, but behaved very scornfully to 
all of them, and she had acquired a reputation of being 


thoroughly heartless, when she chose to tumble head-over- 
ears in love with a Mr. Butterworth, a fair-haired, mild, 
spooney young man, who had come up from Oxford to read 
with my father during the long vacation. Of course 
Mr. Butterworth responded, and the affair was progressing 
to the great satisfaction of the lovers, and the intense de- 
light of my father, who thereby was relieved from much of 
Mr. Butterworth's society and all his tuition. But when my 
grandfather, who was what is called " one of the old 
school,' - a remarkably peppery veteran, discovered what 
was going on, he showed Mr. Butterworth the door, and 
was with great difficulty restrained from kicking him through 
it. Aunt Letitia wept and sulked by turns, but it was of 
no use ; and soon afterwards my father heard that Butter- 
worth had left Oxford, and gone out as a private secretary 
and companion to an old gentleman who held some high 
official appointment in South America. ' Miss Letitia re- 
doubled her lamentations ; but that was the last that was 
heard of Mr. Butterworth. 

Until years after, when my grandfather had been long 
since dead, my father long since married, myself and my 
sister long since born, and my Aunt Letitia long since 
resident with us at The Grove, my father, in London on 
some business, accidentally ran against a portly gentleman 
in the Strand, who, turning round with hurt dignity, re- 
vealed the features of the mild Mr. Butterworth of bygone 
years. He told my father that his patron had died, leaving 
him his fortune ; that he had married in South America, 
but that his wife had died, within a twelvemonth of their 
union, and that he had come home to settle in Eng- 
land. He asked my father for all his news, and wound up 
by saying: "And — Miss Letitia — is — she — still- — ?" And my 
father said she was — still — but that Butterworth had better 
see for himself. This proposition seemed to suit Mr. 
Butterworth entirely. He should be in Devonshire about 
the end of the year; he had business at Exeter. Finally 


■it was decided that he should dine on New Year's Day at 
The Grove, and pass the night there. 

When my father came home with the news, my Aunt 
Letitia was tremendously affected. We noticed next 
morning that a kind of dust-trap of black lace, skewered 
on to a comb which she was in the habit of wearing at the 
back of her head, had been got rid of, and that she had a 
mass of plaits in its place ; we noticed that the usual night- 
shirt hemming for the charity children had been put aside, 
and that a large portion of her day was spent in devouring 
the poetical works of the late Lord Byron, in a Galignani 
edition brought from Paris by my father many years before. 
We noticed — we could not help noticing — how pretty she 
looked with her bright complexion, her white teeth, her 
neat little figure, and as the days passed by she seemed to 
grow more and more animated. One day, however — I 
remember it perfectly, it was the 16th of December, and 
we had boiled beef for dinner — my aunt was taken dread- 
fully ill ; it was at the dinner-table, when, without the 
slightest warning, she suddenly gave a sharp scream, placed 
her handkerchief to her mouth, and rushed from the room. 
My mother followed, and so did my sister, but the latter 
had my aunt's bedroom-door slammed in her face. When 
my mother rejoined us, she had a little private conversation 
with my father, and we were then told that Aunt Letitia 
was very ill, and would probably have to keep her room for 
many days. All sorts of invalid's delicacies, broth, soups, 
calf's-foot jelly, and sago puddings, were sent up to her; 
but she did not reappear amongst us, and it seemed very 
doubtful whether she would be able to do so by the time of 
Mr. Butterworth's visit. 

I must now change the venue, as the lawyers call it, of 
my story. At midnight, on the night when Mr. Twinch 
posted his letter, the down night-mail running between 
Paddington and Plymouth was within ten miles of the 
station at Exeter. In the travelling post-office two clerks 


with their warm caps drawn far down over their ears, were 
sorting letters for dear life, one or other of them turning 
round now and then and objurgating old Barnett, the mail- 
guard, who occasionally opened the window and pushed his 
head out to inform himself of the train's whereabout, bring- 
ing it back always with a puff, and a snort, and an excla- 
mation that the frost was a "reg'lar black 'un to-night, and 
no mistake." Close upon Exeter now, all old Barnett's 
sacks for delivery are ready on the floor close by the door, 
handy for the porters to seize, old Barnett himself sitting 
on the pile, clapping his hands, stamping his feet, and 
whistling to himself softly the while. With a protracted 
grind, a bump, and a shriek, the train ran alongside the 
Exeter platform, and old Barnett pushed back the sliding- 
door of the travelling- office and handed the sacks to the 
expectant porter. But ere the man touched them, he said, 
while his face was ghastly white and his voice trembled : 
" Lord, Mr. Barnett ! such a smash to-night ! " 

" Smash ! " said old Barnett ; " what, an accident ? " 

"Pooh!" said the porter, "not that, that would be 
nothing — no — they've robbed the up-mail ! " 

"Robbed the up-mail !" 

" Ah, tender broke open, bags all cut and hacked, and 
letters all strewn about the floor. You never see such like !" 

" The deuce they have ! " said Barnett, after a moment's 
pause ; " well, Simon, my boy, I'll take devilish good care 
they don't rob my mail. Here, clear these bags out, and 
let's pass." He jumped down on to the platform, ran to 
the next carriage, which was the " post-office tender," a 
second-class carriage fitted up for the reception of mail- 
bags, unlocked the door with a key, saw all secure, relocked 
the door, and returned to the travelling post-office just as 
the train began to move. 

Old Tom Barnett had been in the Post-office service 
in one capacity or other for nearly forty years, during the 
whole of which time no word of complaint had ever been 


uttered against him, and, a strict disciplinarian himself, he 
naturally felt that there must have been some dereliction of 
duty on the part of his brother-guard of the up-mail, of 
which the robbers had taken advantage. Consequently, as 
the train flew through the black darkness at forty-mile-an- 
hour speed, Barnett, at five-minute intervals, lowered the 
window of the travelling-office and peered out in the direc- 
tion of his "tender." He could not distinguish much ; all 
he could make out (and this principally from the shadows 
thrown on the embankments) was that the train was, as 
usual, a short one : that immediately after the engine came 
two second-class carriages, then the travelling-office in which 
he was, then his tender, then a first-class carriage, and then 
finally a luggage-van. Nothing particular was to be seen, 
nothing at all (save the invariable ramping, roaring, and 
rattle) was to be heard ; on they sped through the darkness, 
and never stopped until they came to Bridgewater, where 
old Barnett descended, took his key from his pocket, un- 
locked the tender, and — fell back, calling, at the top of his 
voice: "Help! — thieves ! — damme, they've done me !" At 
his cry, two of the train-guards came running up, and 
turned their bull's-eye lanterns on to the tender, into which 
Barnett at once climbed. The mail-bags, ordinarily so neatly 
arranged, lay scattered in pell-mell disorder on the floor, the 
Plymouth bag had been shifted from the hook on which it 
had been hung, and, on examining it, Barnett found it had 
been opened, and retied but not resealed ; short bits of 
string, splotches of sealing-wax, and drifting pieces of 
tindered paper covered the floor of the tender, and the 
window on the farther side — which had been carefully 
closed when they left Bristol — was open. " They've done 
me !" roared old Barnett again ; " but they shan't escape ! 
they're somewhere in this train, and I'll have them out !" 

At this juncture two gentlemen, one of whom was recog- 
nised as Mr. Marlow, one of the directors of the company, 
the other as Mr. Joyce, the great contractor, to whom the 


safe keeping of a great portion of the permanent way was 
confided, came up and inquired what was the matter. On 
the affair being explained to them, they agreed with Barnett 
as to the necessity for closely searching the train, and all 
proceeded at once to the first-class carriage which was 
immediately next to the post-office tender. This, as is 
usual, was divided into three double compartments. The 
first was that from which Messrs. Marlow and Joyce had 
just emerged, and was, of course, empty; so was the 
second ; in the nearest division of the third compartment 
was an old gentleman named Parker, well known on the 
line as a solicitor of Modbury, whose business frequently 
took him to London. The door between the divisions in 
this carriage was closed and the blind drawn down. On 
being recognised, Mr. Parker at once answered to his name, 
and stated that the farther division was occupied by two 
men who had entered the carriage at Bristol, and had at 
once closed the door and drawn down the blind. Had he 
noticed anything further about them? No, he had not. 
Yes ! as they got in he noticed something dragging after 
them ; unperceived by them, he put down his hand and 
found it to be a piece of string. He cut off what remained 
on his side when they shut the door, and here it was. 
Barnett looked at it, and exclaimed : " Bag-string ! official 
bag-string without a doubt !" One of the railway-guards, 
then opened the door and looked into the other division. 
In it were two men ; one of them, with a Jim Crow hat 
pulled over his eyes and enveloped in a large thick cloak, 
was lying with his legs upon the opposite seat, and was 
apparently suffering from toothache, as he held his pocket- 
handkerchief up to his face ; the other, a tall man in a dark 
Chesterfield greatcoat, was screwed into his corner of the 
carriage and appeared to be asleep. " Tickets, please ! " 
called out old Barnett ; and as the reclining man raised 
himself to get at his ticket, the handkerchief fell from his 
face ^"^ t1ip rniiwoiT.mmr/i '•ecognising him at once, called 


out : " Hallo, Pond ! is that you ? What are you doing 
down the line ? " Instead of answering this question, Pond 
told the guard to go to the devil ; but Mr. Marlow had 
heard the exclamation, and asked the guard whether the 
man in the carriage was Pond, formerly a guard in their 
service, who had been dismissed some six months before 
on suspicion of robbery. The guard replying in the affir- 
mative, old Barnett's previous suspicions were fully con- 
firmed, and he insisted on having both the men (who, 
of course, declared they were strangers to each other) 
thoroughly searched. Nothing at all extraordinary was 
found on either of them, but from the pocket of the carriage 
in which they had been travelling were taken a crape mask, 
a pair of false mustachios, a bit of wax-candle, and some 
sealing-waxed string. As the time for the starting of the 
train had now arrived, old Barnett and Mr. Parker travelled 
in one compartment with Pond, while the two railway- 
guards took charge of his anonymous friend, and thus they 
journeyed to Plymouth, where, on their arrival at the 
station, the prisoners were at once taken into one of the 
waiting-rooms under Barnett's custody, while the others 
proceeded to search the carriages for further traces of the 
robbery. That was an anxious time for old Tom Barnett ; 
he felt convinced that these were the culprits ; but if they 
had made away with their spoil, if something were not found 
the identification of which could be ratified beyond doubt, 
he knew that the prosecution would fail. At last the men 
entered bearing a bundle. " Here it is ; all right ! " said 
one of them. 

"What is it?" asked Barnett. 

"A lot o' registered letters, most of 'em broke open, 
tied up in pocket-'ankerchief and shoved under the seat 
where Pond was sittin' " 

" Brayvo !" cried old Barnett, "brayvo ! But have you got 
anything that can be identified, anything that canbesworeto ?" 


" Well, I don't know ! " said the guard, grinning. " I 
don't think there'll be much difficulty in the owner's swearin' 
to this /" and he held up the torn cover of the packet which 
Mr. Twinch had posted. Old Barnett glanced at its con- 
tents, then clapped his hands and burst into a roar of laughter. 

The fact that the postman who called at The Grove as 
usual on the 1st of January brought no letter for my Aunt 
Letitia, created immense consternation in our family circle. 
My mother seemed much vexed ; and even my father, 
usually a taciturn man, allowed that it was " confoundedly 
unfortunate." As for my aunt, we never heard what hap- 
pened, but it was generally understood that she had a re- 
lapse. The day passed on, and Mr. Butterworth arrived ; 
he manifested great concern at hearing of my aunt's illness, 
and plainly showed that he had missed the real object of 
his visit. He was dull and silent ; and when my mother 
left the gentlemen sitting over their wine, scarcely a word 
was exchanged between them, and my father was just nod- 
ding off to sleep when he was aroused by a loud ring at the 
gate, followed by the entrance of the servant, who stated 
that a rough-looking man wanted to speak to Miss Letitia, 
and would take no denial. My father immediately went 
out into the hall, closely followed by Mr. Butterworth, and 
there they found a tall fellow, who introduced himself as a 
member of the county constabulary, and who reiterated his 
wish to speak with (apparently reading from something in 
his hand) " Miss L. Pemberton." 

" You can't see her," said my father : " she's ill, and in 
her room. I'm her brother ; what do you want ? " 

" Well, sir," said the man ponderously, " there have bin 
a robbery, and we want the lady to swear to some of the swag." 

"Some of the swag?" said Mr. Butterworth. 

"Some of the swag!" repeated my father. "What 
does the man mean ! " 

" Why the man means just this," said the constable ; 


" the mail's been robbed, and 'mongst the things broke open 
was this addressed to Miss L. Pemberton. There won't be 
no difficulty about her recognisin' it, I fancy." And as the 
wretch spoke he drew from a packet a top row of dazzling 
false teeth. 

Yes, that was the secret of Aunt Letitia's illness. A 
year or two before, when nature failed her, she called in the 
assistance of art, and availed herself of the services of Mr. 
T winch j but an accident occurring on the fatal boiled-beef 
day, the teeth were sent back to their creator, who had the 
strictest injunctions to return them, renovated, by the ist 
of January. Mr. Twinch obeyed these orders implicitly; 
and, had not Mr. Pond and his friend selected that very 
night for the robbery of the mail, all would have been well. 
As it was, the teeth were detained by the lawyers for the 
prosecution until after the trial, at which they were produced, 
and at which my aunt also was compelled to appear, 
though strongly against her will. But, when once on her 
mettle, she behaved with great spirit, and gave her evidence 
with such clearness (albeit with a pretty lisp), that she was 
complimented by the judge, and was the main cause of 
Mr. Pond and his friend being found guilty, and sentenced 
to fifteen years' transportation. 

It has never been known to this day whether Mr. 
Butterworth was in court. At all events, three days after 
he called at The Grove, and then found that he had busi- 
ness which would oblige him to take lodgings in the neigh- 
bourhood for a month. At the end of that time I was 
measured for a new suit of clothes, and wore them one 
morning when they seemed to have dinner — champagne, 
cold fowls and things — at twelve o'clock; when Mr. 
Butterworth had on a blue coat, and when Aunt Letitia 
laughed a good deal, and cried all over my new jacket, as 
she bade us good-bye, and told us she was then Mrs. 


Reader, I am a vagabond ! seriously and literally a vaga- 
bond ! born -with vagabond tastes and habits, of parents 
who, by Act of Parliament, were vagabonds (and rogues 
too, for the matter of that !), as were Shakespeare, Garrick 
Quin, Kemble, Mrs. Siddons, and all others of the same 
profession. As a boy I pursued a vagabond career ; was a 
dirty boy — a hot boy — an untractable boy — a boy with 
mangled knees and burst elbows — a defiant, truculent, idle, 
impudent chaffing boy — clever as to orchard burglaries ; 
insolvent through an overweening love of hardbake ; prema- 
ture in a longing for tobacco ! — a boy to whom Virgil was 
an enemy, and Euclid an abomination, but whose friendship 
for a duodecimo Byron was unbounded, and who could 
quote long passages from a thumbed and dirty Keats, pur- 
chased at a bookstall from the proceeds of a sale of a 
Cornelius Nepos. As a young man, I have still been a 
vagabond ; not the " Tom, you vagabond ! " the nephew of 
the rich and testy old uncle in the standard comedy, as 
Tom is generally a dashing spendthrift, who consorts with 
dukes and marquises, and lories large sums at the Cocoa 
Tree ; but a person with a taste for the odd and strange, for 
curious company and associates, for night wanderings in 
out-of-the-way places, for long summer days spent with 
brown-skinned gipsies and spangled acrobats, for long and 
familiar conversations with Punch proprietors, cheap Jacks, 


and other frequenters of the racecourse ; with a love for 
talent, natural or acquired, in any shape, however humble ; 
and with an unmitigated aversion to mediocre respectability. 
I have seen a good deal of respectability, and respect it not. 
I have known many respectable people, and wondered at 
them and their ways. Clerks, mostly — legal, government- 
official, or public-company clerks — philoprogenitive to an 
extent, with a leaning towards Dalston or Camden Town as 
a residence ; strange and fantastic as regards apparel ; 
people who look upon an oratorio at Exeter Hall as a 
recreation; call actors "performers;'' and ignore Tennyson. 
In their turn, I will say the respectables love not me nor 
my fellows. They cannot comprehend us ; and though the 
obnoxious Act of Parliament aforenamed has been repealed, 
and though they see us inhabiting good houses, paying rent, 
rates, and taxes, attending church, serving on juries and 
committees, and performing all proper acts of good citizen- 
ship, they still look upon us as beyond the pale of acquaint- 
ance and recognition. These are the middle classes, the 
suburbans, the Pancras-cum-Bloomsburys — as distinguished 
from the swells, the upper ten thousand, who adore us — ■ 
and the fashionable moneyocracy, who follow their lead ; 
who think us so quaint, so curious ; who say we are such 
entertaining persons, so amusing, and with such a fund of 
humour ; and who, with all their adoration, talk, and recog- 
nition, have as much real feeling for us as they have for 
Mr. Gunter, who supplies the ices, or Mr. Edgington, who 
builds the extempore Turkish kiosk on the first landing-place. 
And who are we of whom I am writing ? What people 
occupy this curiously anomalous position — this Mahomet's 
coffin-like suspension between envy and scorn ? What is 
that queer world which I have undertaken to describe ? I 
will tell you. The subject of my essays are the amusing 
classes ; those who belong to none of the three recognised 
professions ; and who, without being sharpers or swindlers 


yet contrive to live '•' by their wits." Such are the literary 
men, the newspaper-writers, the actors, singers, and musi- 
cians ; the entertainment-givers, the lecturers, the artists in 
oil, in water-colour, and on wood — finally, my queer world 
is the monde des artistes. 

A queer world indeed ! A world of hard strivings, and, 
generally speaking, small results ! In some degree, a 
hollow, shamming world — a world with a mask on — a mask 
bearing a pleasant expression and a fixed grin, behind 
which the face of the wearer is lengthy, pale, anxious, and 
careworn ! A world the members of which have a some- 
what difficult part to play ; for you, my public, come to us 
for recreation or distraction ; and we, who live to please, 
must please to live. We must never be ill, dull, or di- 
spirited ; we must leave our sick couches at the sound of 
the overture — put off our mourning garments and don our 
motley when we hear the tramp of the audience coming in. 

With small means, and yet requiring some peculiar 
comforts, the denizens of this queer world have some 
difficulty in accommodating themselves with appropriate 
Tesidences. The artist must have spacious rooms with a 
~" north light," at a rent to suit the exigences of his income, 
and yet sufficiently near the great thoroughfares for the 
convenience of models and sitters ; the musician must not 
be subjected to the resentment of soulless neighbours who 
object to the perpetual repetition of a symphony, rehearsed 
and re-rehearsed until perfection is acquired, or who are 
inimical to the pursuit of the vocal art under the most 
trying difficulties or at the latest hours ; the actor must be 
near his theatre ; the newspaper-writer near his office ; the 
litterateurs home must not be beyond the reach of the 
always worn and sleepy printer's devil — and so it comes 
that this queer world takes possession of one special locale, 
and holds it for its own. 

The locale is as queer as its inhabitants; a bygone 


locale — a place that has been a quarter of the town once 
grand and fashionable, but now lodging-let and boarding- 
housed; vast gloomy mansions, with treble windows and 
enormous doors — the area railings furnished with extin- 
guishers, in which the Jeameses of the bygone generations 
buried their flaming torches after safely depositing their 
mistresses at Lady Bab's drum. Inside, the rooms are also 
vast and gloomy too, save those occupied by the artists, 
whose windows are generally carried up to the floor above ; 
the staircases are broad and capacious, as are the landings 
and the entrance-hall. Hotspur Street may be reckoned the 
head-quarters of the queer world ; and the houses in Hotspur 
Street are all of the pattern just described. The street itself 
combines all the requirements of its denizens : one turning 
takes you into Oxford Street, the other end leads into 
Tottenham Court Road— that thoroughfare where all the 
necessaries of life are procurable at the lowest prices, and 
where the shops, relying on the dissipated manners of their 
customers, keep open until incredible hours. In the hot 
summer weather, when the cabbages lying exposed on 
Tottenham Court Road stalls are turned brown by the 
sun — when the gentleman with the Italian name gives up 
the chestnuts which he has vended during the winter, and 
produces particoloured slabs of damp and clinging nastiness 
which he calls "penny ices" — -when the contents of butchers'- 
shops, always unpleasant to the eye, become equally offensive 
to the nose — then are the precincts of Hotspur Street invaded 
by foreign gentlemen of fantastic appearance, in wondrous 
coats, cloudy linen, dapper little boots, and trousers 
apparently manufactured of brown-paper — these are the 
confreres of many of the attic inhabitants, who are attached 
to the Opera-band and chorus — dark, sallow-faced men with 
shaved blue-beards and short-cropped hair, convenient for 
the wearing of wigs : then is a great Saturnalia carried on ; 
Alphonse and Max tear down the stairs, rush into the street, 


and, seizing upon Jules and Heinrich, enarm them then 
and there, and rub beard to beard with frank sincerity and 
hearty welcome : then the thumping of pianos, the twanging 
of stringed and the blast of wind instruments are redoubled; 
while from the open attic windows float such clouds of smoke 
as almost to justify the apprehensions of nervous neighbours 
that the premises are on fire. 

Foreigners, however, are not the only excitement in 
Hotspur Street ; for the carriages that discharge their living 
cargoes at Jack Belton's door, and crawl lazily up and down 
until they are signalled to return and "take up," are the 
envy of the neighbourhood, and attract an enormous 
audience of the infantile population. 

Jack Belton lives at No. 136, the large house with the 
portico, and is now one of the first artists of the day 
• — smiled on by the fairest of the aristocracy, courteously 
received by dukes and marquises, actually in favour with 
the Royal Academy, and not snubbed by the Hanging 
Committee ! Times, however, were not always so brilliant 
with him ; slowly, and step by step, has he advanced in his 
profession ; every round of the ladder has been fought for 
until his present position was attained. Jack's father was 
a merchant-prince — a Russell Square man — a person of 
fabulous wealth, who, like that noble monarch George the 
Second, " hated boetry and bainting," and lived but for his 
money, his dinners, and his position in the City ; a fat, 
pompous, thick-headed man, with a red face, a loud voice, 
a portly presence, and overwhelming watch-chain ; a man 
before whom the bank-porters bowed their cocked-hats 
with awe, and at whose name the messengers of the Stock 
Exchange did obeisance out of sheer reverence; a man 
with many services of plate — with a splendid library which 
he never entered — with a country-house, and pineries, and 
lakes, and preserves ; a man who looked down upon his son 
Jack (at the age of sixteen but a puny lad) with contempt, 

Y 2 


and wondered " why the son of a British merchant should 
demean himself by messin' with chalks and paints, like any 
poor strugglin' artist ! " When Jack was sixteen the crash 
came. Mr. Belton pleasantly over-speculated himself : 
shares that should have been at a premium were at a dis- 
count — a public company, which was to have made the 
fortunes of its directors and shareholders, suddenly burst 
up ; Bank-porters bowed their cocked-hats no longer — men 
on 'Change gathered in knots, looked grave, and shook their 
heads ominously as they spoke of " Belton's business." If 
you were in Jack's confidence now, he might perhaps tell 
you a touching story of those days — how, as he was about 
to mount his pony and canter away, followed by his groom 
in livery, his sister, one year older than himself, came out 
and whispered him — how the horses were sent away ; and 
the boy and girl went into the splendid library, where, for 
the first time, Jack heard the awful tidings that " Papa was 
ruined ! " You would hear how these two brave hearts con- 
sulted and planned brave deeds — ay, and, young as they 
were, executed them ! How Jack tramped half over London 
with a lithographic stone under his arm, offering his drawings 
for sale ; how at last one spirited publisher was found who 
accepted them, paid the boy for his work, and brought it 
out in a handsome manner; how the style found favour 
with the public ; how Jack received commissions from his 
publishing friend for an unlimited amount of work ; and 
how, when carpets were festooned from the windows of the 
Russell Square mansion, and posting-bills were placarded 
against the door, announcing, in the choicest language of 
the late eminent Mr. James Jobbings, that the elegant and 
distinguished furniture, the noble paintings, the rare wines 
the fine collection of ancient and modern authors, etc. were 
for sale within, Jack piloted the delicate sister and broken- 
spirited old man through the crowd of carpet-capped sales- 
men and jabbering Jews, and conveyed them to a neat 


respectable lodging hired by him, and maintained for many 
years after by the products of his untiring industry. Were 
you in his confidence, I say, he might tell you somewhat of 
this story ; and now I will tell you more. I will tell you 
that, in the lapse of time, the old man died, blessing and 
reverencing the son he had once despised ; I will tell you 
that the delicate sister is now one of the sweetest young 
matrons in England, married to a literary man whose name 
is a household word in every place where great talents and 
pure thoughts are appreciated. I will tell you that, if I am 
not mistaken — and I've a keen eye for this sort of thing — 
this present summer will not pass away without our seeing 
Jack himself (let me be polite for once, and say Mr. Belton, 
R.A. !) united to a sister of his sister's husband — a girl 
fitted for him in every way. God bless you, Jack ! God 
bless you, noble mind and clever head ! After marriage you 
will quit our quarter and migrate to more fashionable regions. 
But we shall watch your career ; every succeeding triumph 
will be hailed with delight, and your name will always be 
mentioned with enthusiasm in the queer world which you 
once adorned. 

Do you see that blear-eyed, wizen-faced, white-haired 
man, shambling up the sunny side of the street, and rubbing 
his short and dingy blue cloak against the area railings as 
he passes? That is old Solfa, and old Solfa's cloak ! He 
is never seen without that cloak : in it he takes his walks 
abroad, in it he sits at home, and encircled in its scanty 
folds it is firmly believed he takes his rest. Jack Gabbler, 
who knows everything and everybody, or, at all events, who 
pretends to if he does not, says he called upon Solfa very 
early one morning ; that Solfa's voice answered him as from 
beneath distant bedclothes, and that on his demanding an 
interview, Solfa came out to him enveloped in his cloak, and 
apparently nothing else ! He is a very old man now, but in 
his day he was great. An admirable musician, a pleasant 


singer, master of every instrument, and being neither too 
proud to accompany a song, nor too modest to sit in the 
middle of a crowded room and sing pretty little French 
romans, accompanying himself on a guitar slung round his 
neck by a broad blue ribbon, Solfa was a great acquisition 
in a country-house, and went into very excellent society. 
He did not wear the blue cloak then, as you would readily 
perceive in the portrait which hangs over his looking-glass, 
and which he always shows to every new friend. There he 
is gorgeous in a huge-collared coat, in pantaloons tied with 
strings at the ankles, in ribbed stockings and pumps. 
" C'etait dans les jours de ma premiere jeunesse /" says the old 
man, pointing to it with a trembling hand, " be' — for I was 
old Solfa, as zey call me now." And he will tell you a long 
maudlin story about his wife, whom he adored, " Oh, Sophie t 
comme je famais /" and who is dead. I should, however, 
advise you not to believe this part of the narrative, as 
rumour whispers that he utterly neglected Sophie, that he 
was always out at parties, leaving his wife moping at home 
(quite like Tom Moore in a small way, isn't it ?), and it was 
firmly believed that he was in the habit of correcting her by 
personal chastisement. Now his day is over, his friends 
dead or grown very steady, and his place in society occupied 
by younger men. His voice is cracked ; and at an evening 
party a man with a guitar and blue ribbon would only be 
laughed at ; so Solfa has retired into private life, and given 
himself up entirely to what has long been his ruling passion, 
the desire for making money. He would go anywhere or do 
anything which would turn out remunerative ; he buys 
things at a wonderfully low rate, and sells them for large 
prices ; he can beat down the strongest-minded Jews, and 
vanquish them in their own exclusive territories, the private 
sales and auction-rooms of London. He attends the perio- 
dical auctions with the utmost regularity ; and I have seen 
him coming up Hotspur Street in the gloom of the evening 
with the scanty cloak extended to its utmost limits, to act as 


a covering for a large pier-glass which he was carrying 
beneath it. When I first knew Solfa, he one day pulled out 
of his pocket a very pretty watch, a lady's watch, enamelled 
and set with diamonds. I was more foolish in those days, 
perhaps, than I am now ; and I thought of a young person 
whose birthday was close at hand, and whose bright eyes 
would look brighter still were I to present her with the watch 
as a gage d'amiiie ! well, perhaps d' amour ! Solfa was, of 
course, disposed to sell it, and though he asked a high price, 
under such circumstances money is " no object," and the 
watch became mine. When the purchase was concluded 
and the money paid, Solfa said : " I vill gif you leetle advice ! 
Ze vatch is a goot vatch ; vear him two year, then sell him ! 
I have vore him two year myself, and I think four year more 
he be no good." 

This is his policy, the true policy of the present day- 
buying in the cheapest and selling in the dearest market ; 
and by the exercise of much worldly wisdom and arith- 
metical shrewdness, he has collected together a large fortune. 
His rooms, two small attics, are crowded with clocks, 
pictures, statuettes, and objects of virtu, constantly chang- 
ing, and all yielding a percentage. Some day he will be 
found dead in that back room. He has no relations, no 
friends ; but he tells everyone he has made a will, and he 
looks so benevolently at each of us as he says it, that I am 
sometimes disposed to think we have distant hopes of being 
down for a legacy, and that is why we stand his stories of 
bygone days with so much patience. 

We have very few actors left in our queer world now, 
though at one time they used to abound there. But they 
have migrated to Brompton and Chelsea, where there is 
quite a histrionic colony ; and whence, if you lounge down 
Piccadilly at about six o'clock in the fine afternoons, you 
may see them hastening to their avocations in shoals — 
heavy tragedy and low comedy chatting together outside 
the omnibuses, while the heroines of tear-drawing melo- 


drame and piquante farce come rattling up in broughams 
and cabs. These are great times for the gents ; they love 
to see an actor off the stage, and it is believed that many of 
them, if they could make the acquaintance of Mr. Paul 
Bedford, and hear him call them by their christian-names 
in his rolling voice, would die happy. When they see any 
theatrical person in the street, they watch their movements 
closely, and are much disappointed at not perceiving any 
eccentricity in their walk or manner, hoping that after a few 
steps the actor would invert himself, and proceed for the 
rest of his journey on his hands, or that upon calling a cab 
he would spring into it head-foremost, and be seen no more. 
In Hotspur Street I think there is not a single actor left 
— for you can scarcely call Spouter an actor now. At one 
time they say he was wonderful in second-rate parts; and in 
the days of the Kembles and the elder Kean he used to 
be constantly engaged, playing what is technically called 
"youthful tragedy, jeunepremier, and genteel comedy," such 
as Cassio, Mercutio, Orlando, Don Felix, etc. They say 
he was particularly handsome and distingue-looYmg ; and 
they tell me that marchionesses and duchesses were in love 
with him, and nightly appeared in certain seats when he 
acted. They tell me this, and I receive it as a legend. I 
do not think many ladies of title are nowadays in love 
with our theatrical young gentlemen. They say that 
Spouter's appearance and manners so charmed, that the 
Prince Regent invited him to Carlton House, and would 
have proved an invaluable friend to him had his Royal 
Highness not soon discovered, what was really the fact,, 
that, beyond a handsome person, Spouter had no charm ; 
that he was a dull, soulless person, who learnt his words by 
rote, and repeated them, with certain conventional gestures, 
without the slightest knowledge of their real signification. 

But the " first gentleman in Europe," with all his folly, 
•was a much better judge of ability than half his subjects ; 
and by hundreds of families Spouter was still worshipped 


and invited. There is a portrait of him by Clint still in the 
possession of the Roscius Club; he is standing as Mercutio, 
in the celebrated "Queen Mab" speech, and the animation 
of his handsome features is especially well rendered. This 
picture was engraved, and all the young ladies of thirty 
years ago had a print of Spouter hanging in their bed- 
rooms ; those young ladies are now middle-aged matrons ; 
a new generation has arisen which knows not Spouter ; and 
the hook in the wall on which Mercutio erst hung, is now 
occupied by a sweet portrait of the Rev. Cyprian Genuflex, 
ornamented with the autograph signature of the darling 
curate, and the date — " Eve of Saint Boanerges." 

Yes, Spouter's day is over. He is an old man now, in 
a brown wig ; but he doesn't remember the lapse of time, 
and so pads and paints, and tooths and calves himself, 
that at a distance he does not look above forty-five. He is 
slightly deaf, too ; and so accustomed has he been to 
flattery, that, whenever a lady addresses him, and he has 
not exactly caught what she said, he imagines it must be a 
compliment, and bows his head, saying, in a deprecating 
manner : " Oh ! you're very kind, but I am no longer young \" 

He has long since retired from the stage, and gives 
lessons in elocution. Looking from my window on bright 
summer mornings, I often see his clients at Spouter's door ; 
heavy, awkward country actors, who have received tradi- 
tional accounts of Mercutio's polished elegance, and have 
come up for tuition; Belgravian curates in long black coats, 
high-buttoned waistcoats, and linen dog-collars in lieu of 
cravats. There is the sofa-pillow transformed into the dead 
body of Caesar, and over it does Horace Mattins speak 
Antony's oration ; there does Mr. Bellows, of the T. R., 
Stockton-upon-Tees, set forth that his name is Norval, and 
sneer at the. bucolic disposition of his parent. 

These are some of the characters in my queer world : 
the history of the others must be reserved for some future 



Quien sabe ? Who knows ? is an exclamation constantly 
in the mouth of every Spaniard, from the hidalgo to the 
water-carrier. Que scais-je ? What do I know ? perpetually 
asks Michael de Montaigne in his Essays. When they 
prated of the universal knowledge of someone to Arch- 
deacon Paley, the old theologian bade them ask their 
friend if he knew how oval frames were turned. We are 
told that the cobbler should stick to his last, and that, 
provided he is acquainted with all the appliances of his 
trade, the mysteries of under and double soling, welting, 
pressing, fronting, clumping, taking up, screw-pegging, and 
bevelling the edges, he need not bother himself about flints 
in the drift, or waste his midnight oil in endeavouring to 
find an antidote to disinfecting fluid. But suppose he does 
not know all about his own trade — suppose the cobbler has 
not got the length of his last properly in his mind — suppose 
there are combinations of cobbling of which he is ignorant 
— a style of boot-making of which he had never heard — 
what then ? This is just where the shoe pinches the writer 
who has now the honour to address you. The desk is his 
lapstone, the pen his awl, the ink his thread, the paper his 
material. He calls himself a skilled workman, and as such 
he ought to know all the branches of journalism, the trade 


to which he is affiliated. He thought he did know them 
all, in knowing the ordinary daily papers, the weekly press, 
the " organs " of various classes, the " sporting organ," with 
its singular phraseology and recondite lore ; the illustrated 
papers, wherein are always to be found exactly the same 
crowds of blob-headed faceless people staring with the same 
interest at royal processions, railway accidents, volunteer 
reviews, or the laying of foundation-stones, and wherein, week 
after week, with singular pertinacity, are presented engravings 
of trowels used in the last-named operation, engravings of 
inkstands presented to mayors, and engravings of other 
deeply-interesting trophies. He knew that architects and 
builders, booksellers and publishers, had periodicals 
specially devoted to their interests, and well conducted ; 
and he once saw The Grocer, and learnt from its pages 
that there were groceries called mannagroup and melado, 
and cheeses known as Gouda, Kauter, and Edam, new 
milk. But it is only within the last few days that he has 
become acquainted with the existence of two publications 
of very peculiar qualities — organs steeped from the title 
to the imprint in matter relating to poverty and crime. 
They are both worth glancing through. 

The first is owned by, edited by, and bought by, our 
— your — everybody's — uncle. Here it is (London edition) 
price threepence, or ten shillings per annum, eight large 
quarto pages, The Pawnbroker's Gazette. Not " News," or 
" Journal," or " Herald," but " Gazette," as if to pleasantly 
remind its readers of bankruptcies, and unredeemed pledges, 
and forced sales consequent thereupon. Printed and 
published in the highly legal and erst Insolvent Court 
locality of Serle's Place, Lincoln's Inn, this valuable organ 
has pursued the pawning tenor of its way for the last 
twenty-five years, gladdening the hearts of its subscribers 
by appearing with unfailing regularity once in every week. 
It bloomed into existence, therefore, concurrently with 


Chartism and other national benefits ; perhaps dilated on 
the eternal fitness of pawnbrokers on the occasion of the 
Queen's marriage, the Duke of Wellington's funeral, and 
other great celebrations wherein portable property changed 
hands, and is now ably; deprecating " the restrictions upon 
trade which are contained in the twenty-first section of the 
Pawnbroker's Act." We learn from the number before us 
that " recent events naturally attract attention " to these 
restrictions, and ignorantly wonder what these " recent 
events " can possibly be. Carefully perusing this leading 
article, we come upon what seems the self-evident pro- 
position, that " pawnbroking is a delicate operation," and 
are at once plunged into a reverie on the delicacy of 
pawning. We, in our utter ignorance, read " pawnbroking " 
from the outside point of view. Irresolute pacings in 
front of the shop, mock interest in the articles for sale, 
affectedly careless swaggerings through the front or 
purchaser's door, and furtive dartings into the private 
entrance round the corner, are the only images the phrase 
" delicate operation " conjures up. What can you expect 
of a man who never heard of the baleful twenty-first 
section, and who had no notion of pawnbrokers save as 
stern appreciative beings, mysteriously blessed with an 
unlimited supply of ready-money, and entertaining, to a 
man, cynical doubts as to the value of jewellery, and an 
unpleasant distrustfulness as to the quality of gold ? But 
this " delicate operation " refers, not to the tendering, 
but to the acceptance of pledges, which, says the Gazette, 
" calls for great experience and knowledge of the world in 
those engaged in it." 

We believe this so implicitly, that we find ourself sneer- 
ing with the writer at " no person under the age of sixteen 
being permitted to receive pledges," and saying with him 
that it savours of " the burlesque conditions of the oath 
which our fathers were presumed to take at Highgate." By 


this time we have lost all sympathy with pawners, and are 
so imbued with the spirit of the paper as to feel every inch 
a Pawnee. Adopting, as is our habit, the tone and opinions 
of the journal we are reading, we assert boldly that " the 
poor and ignorant are many of them most improvident in 
their habits ; " we regret " it is impossible to repress this 
kind of improvidence by Act of Parliament ; " we laugh 
with scorn at the absurdity of the supposition that " the 
pawnbroker has a natural bias towards the receipt of stolen 
goods ; " and we say that it is annoying to the regular 
licensed trader " to see the well-intentioned efforts of the 
legislature only play into the hands of the dolly-shop 
keeper." We read the peroration of the article with a com- 
placent feeling that it " settles " all profane people who 
would cast a doubt upon the divine right of pawnbroking ; 
and so come triumphantly to the answers to correspondents. 
We are gratified to learn from the first of these that " in 
the event of any article pledged being found on redemption 
to have become damaged by rats and mice," we (regarded 
as a pawnbroker) are not liable to make good such damage, 
provided (and this is all-important) we " keep up such an 
efficient staff of cats as a prudent man would be bound to 
do under such circumstances." Before we have decided on 
the exact minimum number of those domestic animals 
consonant with prudence, we are plunged into another 
" answer," wherefrom we find that under certain circum- 
stances (not named) " the magistrates have the power to 
order the delivery of the property ; " and that we " can do 
nothing but submit until the pledger returns to England ; " 
when, if he has sworn falsely, he may " be prosecuted for 
perjury." Turning in due course to the police intelligence, 
we find it has been carefully selected with an eye to the 
interests of the trade. Impudent robbery of coats from a 
pawnbroker's ; a daring fellow who has broken a pawn- 
broker's window ; a pawnbroker charged with dealing in 


plate without a license ; and a pawnbroker as witness 
against a prisoner — are the principal cases reported ; they 
curiously serve to show the various phases of life per- 
meated by the golden balls. 

The report of the monthly meeting of the committee 
of " The Metropolitan Pawnbrokers' Protection Society " is 
also very agreeable reading, though we regret to find that 
the " effort to have an annual dinner this year was unsuc- 
cessful," and that out of one hundred and seventy-three 
invitations issued, each requesting the courtesy of a reply, 
only twenty-one had met with any response." This regret 
is soon dissipated, however, in the vast interest inspired by 
the subjects brought before the committee. That the world 
is in a conspiracy against pawnbrokers, and that the most 
cautious conduct and the most complete organisation are 
necessary, is obvious from this record. A member of the 
society applies for assistance and advice, under the trying 
circumstance of an owner demanding property stolen from 
him, and pledged. Advice promptly given, assistance re- 
fused. Solicitor to society unfeelingly remarks there can be 
no doubt that the pawnbroker must give up the property, if 
it is identified ; committee concur in his opinion. Com- 
mittee return a similar answer to an application from a 
member for the means of defence (already refused by " the 
district committee ") in connection with some stolen and 
pledged silk ; and justify their refusal by the remark 
that '"'no successful resistance can possibly be made." Dis- 
cussion on a felonious and absconding pawnbroker's 
assistant ; on a pawnbroker who stopped goods, offered 
under suspicious circumstances ; on a case wherein property 
had been pledged by a wife, and redeemed by a husband 
(on a legal declaration that the ticket was lost), whereupon 
husband and wife adjourn to the Divorce Court, and wife's 
solicitor produces ticket, and claims the pledged property 
on her behalf; upon "duffing" jewellery made specially 


to swindle the trade ; and other kindred topics — prove 
that the sweet little cherubs who sit in committee at 
Radley's Hotel keep watch over the life and interests of 
every poor Jack whose profession is pawnbroking, and who 
falls among thieves, or otherwise knows trouble. These 
cherubs must not be confounded with the " Assistant Pawn- 
brokers' Benevolent Society," which is much agitated on 
" Mr. Floodgate's case," and a report of whose meeting is 
on the next page. 

Not without difficulty, for the particulars are given in 
former numbers of the Gazette, which we have not seen, do 
we make out that Mr. Floodgate is a pawnbroker's shop- 
man, who is being prosecuted for an alleged breach of the 
law relating to the purchase of precious metals. The 
Assistants' Society has met to discuss the propriety of 
furnishing him with the means of defence, and though 
some of its members express a strong opinion that it is the 
duty of " a master to defend his young man," still a com- 
mittee is appointed to collect subscriptions on Mr. Flood- 
gate's behalf. The solicitor informs us that " a defence 
may be conducted for twenty pounds, twenty-five pounds, 
thirty pounds, or, in fact, for any amount, according to the 
talent which might be retained," and hints that " to defend 
this case in a style commensurate with the prosecution, we 
may be put to an expense of eighty or even one hundred 

We feel this to be a good round sum, but preferring it 
to the vague " any amount " previously mentioned, we 
separate, determined that our fellow-assistant shall be 
properly represented on the day of trial. That day of 
trial is now past ; let us hope, therefore, that our efforts 
were not unavailing, and that Mr. Floodgate is (if wrong- 
fully charged) at this moment making out duplicates, and 
rejoicing in the friendly protection afforded him by the 
society. Passing by the literature of the Gazette, we come 


to the advertising pages. Here we have more proof of the 
usefulness of the paper, by finding every conceivable 
pawnbroking want appealed to. We can have for one 
shilling, post-free, " A table of the rates of profits allowed 
to be taken by pawnbrokers on intermediate sums ; " for 
five shillings, "A statistical account of the operations in 
the Monts de Piete of France, Belgium, and Ireland, and 
of pawnbroking in England, with suggestions for its im- 

If we be of an antiquarian turn, a barrister-a t-law has 
prepared for us The Law of Pawns : which is not a work on 
chess, but a collection of adjudged cases, together with 
some historical account of the system of lending money 
on pawns, as practised by tradesmen, companies, and 
governments. Again, if we be a buyer, as well as a mort- 
gagee, of miscellaneous property, three firms of auctioneers 
announce sales of unredeemed pledges on every day in the 
ensuing week. Pawnbroking businesses to be disposed of; 
pawnbroking tickets for the " sale trade," boldly written, at 
from ninepence the gross ;" pawnbroking duplicate tickets, 
of "a firmness and substance hitherto unsurpassed," 
numbered consecutively from one to ten thousand, no 
two tickets in the same month to bear a similar number, 
and no two tickets to be alike for two years ; pawnbrokers' 
assistants who want places ; and pawnbrokers who want 
assistants — are all headings to the advertisements. Youths, 
sharp active youths, young men, respectable young men, 
men of experience, men of from six to seventeen years' 
experience in the taking of pledges, countermen, salesmen 
innumerable, are open to engagements. The respectable 
young men mostly aspire to " a situation as third," whatever 
that may be ; the youths are able to write tickets as well as 
serve at the counter ; while the salesmen and men of ex- 
perience can, as a rule, " mark for the window," and take 
the management in the absence of the principal. 


Of the other journal we had indirectly heard. For in 
the Newgate Calendar are there not constant references to 
the Bow-Street Runners' organ, the Hue and Cry ? The 
Bow-Street Runners are gone ; it is years since we read the 
Newgate Calendar ; and now we find that the Hue and Cry 
has given up that thrilling title, and calls itself the Police 

It is published by authority, and is of similar size and 
shape to the journal just described. It is, however, very 
different in style and tone, presenting neither leading article, 
answers to correspondents, reports of public meetings, or 
advertisements proper. We say advertisements proper, be- 
cause the whole paper is filled with advertisements of a 
kind, but they are inserted free of charge, and were never 
liable to duty. The "wants," which occupy its columns, 
are wants of criminals still at large. The paper before us is 
thus subdivided : Four pages are taken up with " Informa- 
tions," and four with the names of deserters from her Ma- 
jesty's service. The " Informations " are subdivided into 
"Murder and Maliciously Wounding;" "Robbery and 
Larceny from the Person ;" " Burglary and Housebreak- 
ing;" "Horse and Cattle Stealing;" "Larceny and Em- 
bezzlement ;" " Frauds and Aggravated Misdemeanours ;" 
''Miscellaneous;" "Property Stolen;" and "Property 
Found by Police Officers " (on the persons of prisoners and 
elsewhere). The style of this journal is of the closest, for it 
merely gives, as it professes, " the substance of all informa- 
tions received in cases of felony, and of misdemeanours of 
an aggravated nature, and against receivers of stolen goods, 
reputed thieves and offenders escaped from custody, with 
the time, the place, and the circumstance of the offence. 
The names of persons charged with offences, who are 
known, but not in custody, and a description of those who 
are not known, their appearance, dress, and other marks of 
identity. The names of accomplices and accessories, with 



every particular which may lead to their apprehension. A 
description, as accurate as possible, of property that has 
been stolen, and a minute description of stolen horses, for 
the purpose of tracing and recovering them." The facility 
of mental metempsychosis which made us a pawnbroker 
just now, converts us into a police-constable while reading 
this statement of the scope and bearing of the Police Gazette. 
We open it at our provincial station-house, and, conning 
over the descriptions to see whether any of them apply to 
the two suspicious-looking tramps we saw lurking about the 
manor-house yesterday when we were on duty, fail in this ; 
but in one of the advertisements we recognise the plausible 
talkative man we met at the cross-roads on Sunday, who 
seemed, for all his talkativeness, to shun our eye, and whom 
we heard of afterwards as inquiring the way to the next 
town. We report our discovery, a message is sent to the 
police-superintendent of that town, and we have the satis- 
faction of knowing that the Blucher boots with a small hole 
in one toe will shortly carry their owner into Stamford jail. 
The extreme particularity of these descriptive " informa- 
tions " is carried down to scars on the thumb, to peculiar 
modes of pressing the lips when speaking, to the accent of 
the voice, and to the expression of the eye. The dress in 
which " wanted " persons were last seen, down to the 
patches on their trousers, the cut and material of their 
coats, the amount of wear had out of their hats and boots, 
the size of the plaits in their shirts, and the colour of their 
stockings, is faithfully reproduced ; and we rise from the 
perusal of this portion of the news from Bow Street con- 
vinced that we shall soon hear of a large proportion of the 
one hundred and ten " informations " it contains resulting 
in the apprehension of the persons described. Subse- 
quently we turn to the list of deserters, the reward for 
whose apprehension has since 1857 been twenty shillings 
instead of ten. We carefully note the tabulated columns 


headed respectively, name, number of regiment, corps, 
where born, trade, age, size, hair, eyes, face, coat, trousers, 
date of desertion, marks, and remarks. Upwards of a thou- 
sand deserters from the militia and line are here described ; 
the sea-service, including the marines, does not furnish a 
fourth of that number. 

Instructed and edified, we put aside our newly-dis- 
covered periodicals, with an inaudibly-expressed hope that 
our distinguished name may never figure in the columns of 

z 2 



So Earl Russell called it in my passport — travelling " on 
the public service," nothing definite, nothing more. I had 
my instructions, of course, but they were, as they will re- 
main, private. I had no uniform, like a courier, no sheep- 
skin bag of documents, no despatch-box, nothing distinctive 
and immediately recognisable, like a Queen's messenger. 
On the public service I was to travel as one of the public, 
quietly making such inquiries as had been suggested to me, 
and quietly noting down the replies ; but I was in no wise 
to give clue to my business, was not to produce my pass- 
port until it was asked for, and was to enter into no par- 
ticulars as to the public service on which I was accredited. 
I had one consolation — that I afforded subject for an enor- 
mous amount of jesting on the part of those friends who 
knew that my mission lay in Hamburg, at that time the 
head-quarters of the German army marching on to Schleswig 
Holstein. It was a part of the admirable humour of those 
wags to assume a belief in the premature closing of my 
earthly career, to take longing, lingering farewells of me 
under the assumption that I should be taken for a spy, and 
either shot on the spot, after a drum-head court-martial, or 
immured for life in a Prussian fortress. I was christened 
" Major Andre'." I was begged to read an account of the 


captivity at Verdun. One would gravely affirm that he had 
heard hanging was not really painful ; another would advise 
me not to submit to the degradation of a handkerchief over 
my eyes, but to glare defiantly at the shooting-party; a third 
hoped I had a strong pocket-knife, because " people always 
bought those queer little things that the prisoners carved 
out of wood." I bore their sallies like a hero, and started 
by the night-mail to Dover " on the public service." 

Although the South-Eastern Railway has done its best 
to whirl me to that never-somnolent town, and although the 
Belgian mail-packet, advantaged by a splendid night, a 
favouring breeze, and a placid sea, has conveyed me thence 
to Ostend in very little more than four hours, I find, on 
disembarking at half-past three a.m., that our haste has 
been in vain, for the train does not start until after seven, 
and I have nearly four hours to get through. I am not 
prepared to say at what town in Europe I should prefer 
spending these four hours on a winter's night, but I am 
prepared to declare that certainly Ostend should not have 
my suffrages. Had it been summer, I could have had some 
supper at one of the numerous quay -side restaurants, and 
then strolled round the town ; or I could have walked on 
the Digue, or examined the Phare, or bathed in the sea; 
but in January the quay-side restaurants are shut, and none 
of the other diversions are tempting. Nothing suggests 
itself but bed ; so, mindful of old recollections, I determine 
to go to the Hotel d'Allemagne, and, waving off touters, 
who, even at this dead hour of the night and season of the 
year, are vociferously to the fore, I stow myself into a one- 
horse omnibus, and mention my intended destination. The 
conductor of this omnibus suggests to me a reconsideration 
of my determination. That he should say anything against 
the Hotel d'Allemagne, far be it ! But he knows a better s 
one which, if he may use an English word, is bien comfort- 
ablement, one which is close at hand, and where mademoi- 


selle (the other occupant of the omnibus) is about to 
descend. Will I not ? No, I won't ! The Hotel d'Alle- 
magne or nothing ; and I pity mademoiselle, who descends 
at a not very attractive-looking porte-cochere, as I think of 
Raymond and Agnes, and Mr. Wilkie Collins's terribly 
strange bed, and many other unpleasant nights. But 
arriving at the Hotel d'Allemagne, we find it fast closed, 
and all ringing and shouting are powerless to wake the 
inhabitants ; so, much humiliated and crestfallen, I give in, 
and allow myself to be reconveyed to the bien comfort- 

It is warm at the bien comfortablement, which is a 
great point on a bitter night ; the stove is alight, the 
moderator-lamp shines brightly on the snowy tablecloth, 
and mademoiselle, who was deposited by the omnibus on 
its first journey, and who turns out to be a "young person 
in service," is talking unaspirated English to a big man, who 
came over in the fore-part of the steamer, and who is 
drinking hot brandy-and-water at a great rate. My hoarse 
friend, who has given up the omnibus, here puts in a 
spectral appearance at the door, and beseeches me to go to 
bed, promising to call me in the morning ; so, dazed and 
tired, to bed I go ; and as I creep between the coarse 
sheets, and rebound on the spring mattress, and see the 
foreign furniture, and smell the foreign smell, and vainly 
endeavour to cover myself with the foreign bed-clothes, I 
bethink me of the time when I was a tall slip of a boy, 
eighteen years ago, and when, on my way to a German 
university, I passed my first night in foreign parts in this 
same city of Ostend. And so, lulled partly by these reflec- 
tions, partly by the monotonous crooning of the voices of 
the young person in service and the brandy-drinker in the 
next room, I fell asleep. 

"'Sieu ! 'sieu ! cinq heures et d'mi, m'sieu." That 
recalled me to my senses, and I damped myself with the 


napkin, and placed as much of my nose and chin as it 
would contain into the pie-dish, and dressed myself, and 
arrived in the salon just as the breakfast I had ordered 
before I went to bed was brought in by the waiter. 

Princes, fools, and Englishmen travel in the first-class 
carriages, says the German proverb : I know I am not a 
prince, but I am an Englishman, therefore one need not 
enter upon the other question, I think, as I take my first- 
class ticket. I am travelling " on the public service " now, 
so I ride in the first-class ; on previous occasions I have 
ridden in the fourth-class, with fishwomen carrying strong- 
smelling baskets of Ostend produce into the inland regions, 
and blue-bloused peasants in large-peaked caps, with all of 
whom I have held converse in the Flemish language — which 
I did not understand, but in which I made excellent progress 
by speaking a mixture of English and German with a Dutch 
accent. Now I sit in the first-class. I am certain there are 
no other Englishmen in the train, and I suppose there are 
no princes, and no fools, at such an early hour, for I am 
solitary and silent. On, past Jabbeke and Bloemendael, 
jolly little neighbouring villages ; on, through the flat well- 
cultivated Belgian country ; on, past those dreary old 
chateaux, with the gabled roofs, standing far back, and 
looking so grim and desolate ; on, past the white-faced little 
towns, through the high street of which our train tears, 
giving us passing glimpses of close-capped children scream- 
ing at the wooden bar which prevents them from hurling 
themselves on the line ; on, until with a whistle and a 
shriek, we dash into Ghent, and pull up steaming beside the 
platform. Only one change at the Ghent station — no 
Englishman ; no bundle of railway rugs, umbrella and 
sticks, waterproof coat, camp-stool, and red-faced Murray, 
shining like a star in the midst of them ; no bowing com- 
missionnaire conducting milor to his carriage ; priests in big 
shovel-hats ; fat-faced Flemish maidens ; Ghent burghers, 


looking particularly unlike one's idea of Philip van Artevelde; 
porters, idlers, everything as usual, except the English 
travellers. So at Malines, where, as usual, we stop for half 
an hour's refreshment, I perceive the lack of English 
travellers ; the buvette, where assemble the choice spirits of 
the third and fourth classes, is filled with roysterers drinking 
that mahogany-coloured beer with a white woolly froth, 
which is at once so nasty and so reminiscent of a panto- 
mime beverage ; but the first-class restaurant (so red-velvety, 
so gilded and looking-glassed, and artificial-flowered, and 
marble-tabled) has only three visitors : a Belgian officer in 
a gray overcoat, bright blue trousers and gilt spurs ; a fat 
German, perpetually wetting the point of the pencil with 
which he is making notes ; and myself. So throughout the 

Passing Liege, the sun burst out, and the deep red 
cuttings, and the foaming waterfalls, and babbling rivulets, 
and bright green growth of what Thomas Hood aptly called 
the " lovely environs " of that grim smoke-begrimed city, 
glowed in his rays. Indeed, the weather continued so bright 
and genial, that when we ran into Cologne, at half-past four, 
I could scarcely believe it was mid-winter. But when I 
stood, portmanteau in hand, at the railway-station, I soon 
realised the fact ! In the touring season the yard is filled 
with cabs and omnibuses ; now, there are three wretched 
droschkies, driverless and badly horsed ; then, you have to 
fight your way through a shrieking crowd of touters, eager 
to bear you off to see the Dom, the shrine of the three kings, 
and the bones of St. Ursula's twelve thousand virgins ; now, 
a solitary man, hinting at no sight to be seen, offers to carry 
my baggage to an inn. But I leave my traps at the station, 
and having two hours to pass before the starting of the train, 
I walk through the town, and find it indeed deserted. The 
big Rhine-bordering hotels are closed, half the Jean Marie 
Farinas have shut up their eau-de-cologne shops, while the 


other two hundred and fifty seem thoroughly unexpectant of 
custom : the Wechsel Comptoir (or money-changers), whose 
ideas as to the current value of a sovereign are very 
vacillating, now have closed their shutters, and the itinerant 
photograph-sellers have fled. So I skulk back to the station, 
and there get a portion of a tough hare, and some red 
cabbage, and some kraut and potato salad, drink a bottle 
of Riidesheimer, and throw myself into the train and 
prepare for a night's rest. 

I get it, with the exception of three rapid exits for 
refreshment purposes, at Minden, Hanover, and Lehrte. I 
sleep steadily on until half-past seven a.m., when we arrive 
at Harburg, our terminal station. Hamburg lies on the 
other side of the Elbe, and the passage of the river is made 
in summer by a steamboat ; but now the Elbe is frozen, and 
the crossing is long and difficult. As I am getting my 
portmanteau, I see a good-looking fresh-coloured boy in a 
huge fur cap, standing on the box of a droschky in the court- 
yard; he motions to me inquiringly; I respond, and the next 
minute he has rushed up, has collared my portmanteau, has 
pushed me into his carriage, and is standing upon the box, 
whooshing and holloaing to his two mettlesome little steeds. 
Besides his fur cap, he wears a short sheepskin jacket with, 
the collar turned up round his face, thick breeches, and 
well-greased boots reaching to his knees. He has a large 
pair of fur gloves too, and a -long whip, and a short cigar, and 
a great flow of animal spirits, which impels him jocosely to 
lay the whip across everybody he meets : shivering peasants 
with yokes carrying red pails, solemn douaniers, pompous 
post-couriers, sturdy farmers, fat burghers, all with their 
heads buried in their coat-collars. In five minutes we arrive 
at the banks of the Elbe, where we have to wait a quarter 
of an hour until the steam-ferry is ready to receive us. The 
scene is desolate enough ; the ice has begun to break up, 
but as yet has " given " but little ; a bitter north-east wind 


skins the thin bald dreary landscape, flat and treeless; and the 
horses attached to the various carriages shiver and rattle their 
harness. The peasants have put off their yokes, and stamp 
up and down beside their red pails ; the douaniers scowl over 
their pipes through the windows of the little toll-house ; the 
post-courier slips on the frozen road and falls headlong, coming 
up again with a comic expression of ruffled dignity and a 
mouth full of strange oaths ; and nobody seems happy save 
my fur-capped droschky boy, who, by dodging and whipping, 
has edged his carriage into the foremost rank. Then a shout 
announces that the steam-ferry is ready, and with heavy jolts 
and bumps we rumble on to it, carriages, horsemen, peasants, 
all closely packed together, with some twenty men in the bows 
armed with long iron-tipped poles to break up the solid, and 
push off the floating, ice. Steam is up, the fat little funnel 
throws out angry snorts, and we are off; but after two 
minutes come upon a solid mass of ice which defies our 
charge, and defies, too, all the prods of the pole-bearers : so 
we have to back and steer into another channel, through 
which, by dint of pushing off the floating icebergs, and after 
many weary stoppages, we arrive at the other side. Then 
down a long, long chaussee, with never-ending poplars on 
either side, bounded by a broad arm of the Elbe, so 
thoroughly frozen that we drive bodily over the ice, with 
no other difficulty than the uncertain foothold of the 
horses; then another chaussee, straggling outskirts of a town, 
wooden bridges over canals, where broad-bottomed boats 
lay, like the larks and leverets in the pie immortalised by 
Tennyson, "embedded and enjellied;" then through a hand- 
some faubourg, along a broad road skirting an enormous 
sheet of water and bordered by handsome houses; and then 
pulled short up by the door of Streit's hotel. 

Very good is Streit, very handsome is his house, and 
very excellent is his accommodation, although by reason of 
my becoming tenant of the only disengaged room in the 


hotel, I am mounted up very high, and my chamber has a 
dreary look-out into a back courtyard or flowerless garden. 
For Streit is full. At Streit's door I noticed two sentinels 
on guard, and in Streit's first floor are reposing princes of 
the land, who are thus guarded, and noble officers, the 
princes' staff. His Royal Highness of Prussia is chez 
Streit, and smaller Transparencies are billeted about in other 
mansions of this noble street, which is called the Jungfern- 
stieg. A very short acquaintance with Streit proves to me 
that his visitors are principally military ; lumbering men 
with clinking spurs, and huge overcoats, and sweeping 
moustaches, brush by me in the passages ; and I am con- 
tinually tumbling over the regular soldier-servant, he of the 
short hair, stiff gait, and ears sticking out on the side of his 
head like the handles of a jug. I am disposed to believe 
that Streit imagines I too am military, when he hands me a 
letter from high authority which has been waiting my arrival, 
and which bears an enormous seal with the impression of 
the town arms, and has a strictly official and somewhat 
military appearance. Streit, I think, recognises the style of 
the address, but little wots Streit of the contents of this 
document, which enjoins me to return to England so soon 
as my necessary rest is accomplished. In his happy 
ignorance, and doubtless thinking that he has me his 
customer for days, Streit suggests my being tired and going 
to bed. But — though I don't confide this to Streit — I have 
only one day in which to see Hamburg, so I scorn his 
suggestion, and order breakfast. After a splendid bath — 
Streit has a very good bath in his house — I descend, find an 
oasis of cups and plates in a desert of tablecloth (laid for 
the table d'hote breakfast), and start out to explore. 

The enormous lake in front of me is the Alster Bassin, 
and no doubt in summer, when it is the grand resort of the 
Hamburgers, who, making up pleasant parties, float over its 
waters in painted boats, or booze and smoke in pavilion 


cafe's on its banks, it is a delightful place. Now, however, 
it is one vast sheet of ice, on which the thaw is just 
beginning to take effect, for in the distance is seen a line of 
men, half-a-dozen paces apart, extending from shore to 
shore, busily engaged in breaking holes in the ice to admit 
the air, and so tend to its more speedy dissolution. In the 
comely gardens fringing the lake I find nurse-girls and 
their charges, of course attendant soldiers, old gentlemen 
evidently bent on " constitutionals," priests with bent heads 
hurrying to the service, the bells inviting to which are now 
resonant, and little children scampering about — not unlike 
a foreign edition of St. James's Park, barring the ducks. 
Between the two Alster Bassins, the greater and the less, I 
cross over a barren strip of land, where there is a lock and 
a big windmill, brown and skeletony, and reminding one of 
the background of a sketch by Ostade ; and on the other 
side I find a high road, and on the high road I find two 
horses, and on the horses I find two Austrian officers coming 
very much to grief, partly on account of the slippery state 
of the roads, and partly on account of their not having yet 
acquired the rudiments of equitation ; for I take it that to 
pull a horse's nose on a level with his eye by the aid of a 
very sharp curb, and then to kick him in the flank with 
sharp-rowelled spurs, clutching meanwhile by anything per- 
manent, is not the best way to keep a horse on his legs. 
Then across the Jungfernstieg into the shop-streets, where 
there is plate-glass, and gilding, and decoration, and lavish 
expenditure on every side. To eat seems the great end of 
the Hamburger's life — to eat and so to enjoy. Not only are 
there large hotels, restaurants, conditorei or pastrycooks, and 
fruiterers in every street, but at every dozen doors you find 
a board announcing that in the basement, below the level of 
.the pavement, is an oyster-cellar. Austern und Frilhstuck, 
Oysters and Breakfast, that is the hospitable announcement 
of the signboard, and there do the fast young merchants 


congregate before they arrive at their counting-houses, and 
plunge so deeply into the many-lined, thinly-written, thin 
rustling leaves of letter-paper, all relating to that " first of 
exchange." These oyster-cellars are cool yet snug resorts, 
suggestive of pleasant and soothing alkaline waters, succulent 
bivalves, appetising anchovies and devilled biscuits ; for 
your Hamburger has anything but poor brains for drinking, 
and could give your swag-bellied Hollander, and the rest of 
Cassio's friends, a long start and catch him easily. Like- 
wise, as a new feature, do I notice at the doors of the 
restaurants, venison : not in its prepared and floured state 
— as with us — but in its natural state, skin on, horns, hoofs, 
severed jugular and all. 

High change in Hamburg is at one o'clock. As it is 
rapidly approaching that hour, I make my way towards the 
Borse, and enter the building as it is beginning to fill. A 
handsome edifice this, with a large spiral hall in the centre, 
surrounded by a colonnade. Upstairs all sorts of little 
rooms, with names on the doors, merchants' offices like our 
London pattern at Lloyd's, and a big room, empty and 
locked, which I am told is the seat of the Chamber of 
Commerce. From below comes a roar of voices, and, 
looking down, I see the Hamburg merchants literally " at 
it." There they are, Hamburgers proper, rotund of body, 
heavy of jowl, fishy of eye, stubbly of hair, bushy of beard, 
thumb-beringed and hands-begrimed, listening and grunting ; 
young Hamburg, blotchy, sodden, watery-eyed, strongly 
reminiscent of " last night," stung into business for business 
sake, and for the sake of making more money for the 
encouragement of Veuve Clicquot, and Mumm,andRoederer, 
and Heidzecker, and other compounders of Sillery Sec and 
Pommery Greno ; old Jewry, gaberdined to the heels in 
fur, with cotton wool in its ears, screaming, yelling, checking 
off numbers in its interlocutor's face with skinny yellow 
finders ; young Jewry, with an avalanche of black satin 


round its throat, and a big brilliant diamond therein, cool, 
calm, specious, and a trifle oleaginous; middle-aged France, 
heaving in the waistband which props its rotund stomach 
under its double-chin, with scarcely any face to be seen 
between the rim of its fore and aft hat and the points of 
its gummed moustache ; here and there an Englishman, 
chimney-pot-hatted, solemn and awfully respectable ; little 
olive-skinned Greeks, Russians in sable, and two Parsees in 
brown-paper head-dresses. But the noise ! It floods you, 
drenches you, soaks you through and through. 

When I leave the Exchange it is past two o'clock, which 
I am glad of; but it is beginning to rain, which I am sorry 
for ; Streit's table-d'hote does not take place until four, and 
I must fain walk about, dreading the thoughts of my dreary 
bedroom looking on the back-yard. So I walk about, and 
look at the church of St. Nicholas, which is one of the best 
Gothic triumphs of our own great architect, Mr. Gilbert 
Scott, and I bend my neck very far back indeed endeavour- 
ing to see the spire of St. Michael's ; and I visit the 
Rathhaus and am not impressed thereby, and I inspect the 
promenading female beauty with the same result : for the 
Hamburg females are neither better nor worse looking than 
the majority of their German sisters, and have the coarse 
hair, and the dull thick skins, and the coarse hands, and the 
elephantine ankles, for which your Deutsches Madchen is 
renowned. They seem to find favour though in the eyes of 
the Prussian and Austrian officers, who are everywhere, and 
who ogle them in the true military manner ; but the maidens 
do not respond, and only halt in their walk to contemplate 
occasional regiments marching by, with the invariable 
accompaniment of vagabond boys and men. But the rain 
now comes down so smartly that I can walk about uncovered 
no longer, and am making my way to Streit's, when out 
of the Jungfernstieg I turn into an arcade, full of such 
shops as in such places are generally to be found, and 


here I while away my time. Jewellers first : I do not care 
to stare in at jewellers' windows in England ; I seem to 
myself like a hungry urchin at a pastrycook's longing after 
the tarts ; but that rule does not hold here, and so I stare 
my fill, noticing all the curly snakes with ruby eyes and tur- 
quoise tails, the rings and pins, the hair-brooches (the 
Germans are tremendous at these, and there were shoals of 
those very gummy wavy hair willow-trees bent over little 
black tombs, with the gilt wire adjustment plainly visible), 
the thin little French watches, the fat German turnips, the 
montres Chinoises (Chinese watches made in Geneva) with 
one long thin hand perpetually turning round, and rendering 
hopeless any attempt to tell the time ; the earrings, the 
enormous gold skewers, arrows, hoops, arcs, shells, and 
knobs for the hair. Printsellers : the place of honour occu- 
pied by the late Mr. Luard's pictures of " Nearing Home " 
and the "Welcome Arrival," and Mr. Brooks's pretty senti- 
mentalisms of empty cradles and watching wives ; close by 
these, and in excellent keeping, a French artist's notion of 
the English in Paris ; English gentleman in a suit of whity- 
brown paper, green plaid cloth tops to his boots, a pointed 
moustache, and a very fluffy hat (how they do catch our 
peculiarities in dress, don't they !), saying to a lady, lovely, 
but perhaps a trifle free : " Voulez accepter le coeur de 
moa?" in itself an excellent joke; many pictures of en- 
counters between the Prussians and the Danes in 1848, in 
which the latter are always getting the worst of it, and a 
notable print, " Seeschlacht bei Eckenford " (Sea-fight at 
Eckenford), which sea-fight apparently consists of a Danish 
ship running aground, and the Germans running away. 
Then, a bookseller's ; covered all over with their little copies 
of Der Londoner Vertrag (" The London Treaty " of 1852), 
with numerous French and German books, and some 
gaudy-coloured English works, one of which I am inclined 
to think by its title, Daddy Goriot, or Unrequited Affection, 


cannot be entirely original, but may have some connection 
with a French gentleman, one Honore de Balzac, deceased. 
Then a photographer's ; where I am refreshed at finding 
what I, of course, have never seen in my own land — carte- 
de-visite portraits of the Prince and Princess of Wales, also 
of Herr von Bismarck, the great Prussian firebrand, also of 
Fraulein Delia and Fraulein Lucca, great operatic stars, in 
all kinds of costume ; also the portrait of a gentleman, with 
particoloured cheeks, a cock's-comb head-dress and fantastic 
dress, with a legend underneath, stating it to be the effigy of 
"Herr Price, Clown, Circus Renz." 

A lengthened tour of inspection of this arcade, and a 
chat with the tobacconist, of whom I buy some cigars, 
brings me close to four o'clock, when Streit rings his bell for 
table- d'hote, and I find myself one of half-a-dozen civilians, 
all the rest of the guests being Austrian and Prussian 
officers. When they find I am a foreigner (they think I am 
a Russian), these gentlemen are very polite, including me 
in their conversation, clinking glasses with me, etc., while 
they scowl upon the civilians of their own country, and take 
no notice of them. The conversation turns upon the part 
played by England in this war, and I have the satisfaction 
of hearing my country and its ministers very roundly abused : 
so roundly, that at length I declare my nationality, and 
receive all sorts of apologies from my friends, who deprecate 
any idea of personality, but who still decry our English 
policy, and who tell me that the unpopularity of England 
throughout Germany is terrible. In due course after which 
I take my candle and go to bed, having to be up at day- 
break, to start once more on the public service. 



" Ha, ha ! " said he, with a sardonic laugh. 

" What do you mean?" I asked, indignantly. 

" Ha, ha ! " repeated he, more sardonically than before \ 
" it's a hoax ; " and then he roared with delight. " He " 
was the booking-clerk at the Faversham railway-station ; 
" I " was a passenger just alighted, and inquiring whether 
there would be any special return trains to London ; and 
" it " was a paragraph about a night-attack by volunteers, 
which had appeared in the newspapers. 

Now, though a hoax in itself is a most delightful thing, 
requiring great subtlety of wit to invent, and great delicacy 
of humour to carry through, still when, after travelling more 
than fifty miles, at great trouble and inconvenience, for a 
special object, you find you have mistaken an asinine bray 
for the genuine bugle-call, you are apt to be annoyed. So 
I was beginning to wax very wroth, and to feel anything but 
pleasantly disposed towards Faversham, its volunteers, local 
population, railway, and belongings in general, when I was 
accosted by the station-master, from whom I learned that, 
though the numbers engaged would not be so large as had 
been stated in the newspaper paragraph, the night-attack 
would certainly be made ; that from the condition and drill 
of the men the operation would probably be very creditably 

2 A 


carried out ; and that, though there were no special return 
trains to London — indeed, I seemed to be the only stranger 
in the place — there was a capital hotel, where I should be 
taken excellent care of. 

I found the hotel, forming one side of the queer little 
market-square, and immediately confronting the lopsided 
little town-hall, with its big-faced clock and its supporting 
pillars forming a little arcade, in which, probably, the 
merchants of Faversham most do congregate. I found the 
landlord astonished at the idea of a stranger coming so 
far to see so little, but, undoubtedly, delighted at the 
chance of driving me in an open trap to the scene of action, 
and of beholding the military display. I ordered my 
dinner, and I set out to do Faversham. Easily done. 
Such quaint old-fashioned, gable-ended houses, with all their 
woodwork newly grained, with plate-glass substituted for 
the old diamond panes, with the date of erection, in many 
cases, neatly picked out as something to be proud of; and 
with a perpetual current of business pouring into them, 
bespeaking trade and prosperity ; such clean broad trimly- 
kept streets, stretching here away into a pleasant country, 
there away to new red-brick buildings, suggestive of 
benevolent townsfolk and heavy legacies ; such a charming 
old church, with a singular spire springing from a curious 
arch ; such a picturesque schoolhouse close by, with such a 
ringing, fresh, girlish voice within, heard through the open 
window singing — oh, so sweetly ! — -the Evening Hymn ; 
such a capital range of red-brick houses, with stone mullions 
and copings judiciously introduced, with bay windows 
thrown out here, and twisted chimneys put on there, and 
with, in the middle, a large, handsome, evidently public 
building, with big doors and those fine old mediaeval hinges, 
which make such a show, but which are not particularly 
useful. Of a passing rustic, or rather semi-rustic, an 
agricultural labourer with a maritime flavour, I asked what 


that (pointing to it) was. The person looked at me for a 
moment seriously, then grinned, and said, " Faversham." 
' ; Of course, I know; but that?" pointing again. A longer 
stare ; then " Houses " was the reply. " Of course, but 
that ? " with an unmistakable forefinger. " A-ah ! " — long 
drawn-out sigh of relief — " Institoot.'' The Albert Institute, 
well endowed, well supported, well attended, well conducted. 
Faversham s tribute to the memory of the Prince Consort, 
and a very sensible tribute too. 

Dinner despatched, I found the landlord awaiting me in 
an open phaeton, and away we sped to the scene of the 
operations, some four miles distant. Our passage through 
the streets was impeded by the streams of people all 
pouring out in the one direction, old and young, women 
and children, all full of spirits. Sitting on the box by the 
landlord, I had been wondering at the perpetual shouts of 
laughter we occasioned, at the never-failing roar of delight 
with which our appearance — like that of some popular 
actor — was greeted, and I was about to ask my companion 
for an explanation, when, turning round for an instant, I 
saw a shock-headed ragged man solemnly trotting by the 
side of our trap, to which he was holding with one hand. 
" Who's your friend ? " I asked the landlord. '•' Oh ! " said 
he without turning, " 'tis only Buzzy Billy ! '' Being to 
my shame ignorant of this celebrity, I was compelled to 
press the question further, and then learnt that Buzzy Billy 
was the " softy," the omadhaun, in plain English the idiot, 
of the town, who, like most idiots, had a certain amount of 
nous, which fitted him for work which no one else cared to 
do, and that he was attached as our retainer to hold the 
horse and look after the trap while we were farther afield, 
with the certainty that no amount of excitement could 
beguile him from his duty. 'Which result, on such an 
occasion, could not have been predicated of any other 
male in Faversham. As running footman Buzzy Billy 

2 a 2 


discharged his duties well, distributing slaps of the head 
among the boys with great impartiality, with a hand about 
the size and colour of a shoulder of mutton, invariably 
meeting all suggestions of a " lift " with the sarcastic 
remark, " Get 'long wi' 'ee ! They wouldn't let me ride, 
much less such as you ! " 

As we rode along, I learned from the landlord that the 
night's proceedings had been originated by a gentleman, 
the proprietor of extensive powder-mills in the neighbour- 
hood, who, at his own cost, had raised among his own 
workmen two batteries of artillery, numbering one hundred 
and twenty men, who are provided by him with uniform 
and accoutrements, whose expenses are paid, and from 
whose wages he never makes any deduction when drills, 
gun-practice, and military evolutions call them from their 
regular work. These artillerymen, constituting the Second 
Kent Artillery Volunteers, were reckoned among the crack 
corps of the county ; and of this I had an opportunity 
presently of judging, as we drove past the grounds of their 
founder, who is also their major, where they were drawn up 
in line — as well-built, trim, well-equipped a body of men as 
One could wish to see. These were the repelling force ; 
the attacking body, consisting of the Sheerness Dockyard 
Battalion, had preceded us, and we could occasionally catch 
the refrain of a tune played by their band far ahead. By 
this time a bright clear moon had risen, the air was fresh 
and frosty, and the ground firm and in capital marching 
condition ; the road was filled with pedestrians, all chatting 
and laughing, with here and there a stray horseman, or a 
chaise-cart, or a van laden with company. If there had 
been sunlight and dust, and hundreds more vehicles, it 
would have looked rather like the road to the Derby ; as it 
was, it dimly resembled the outskirts of a country fair. At 
last we began to approach our destination; the horse and 
chaise were left in Buzzy Billy's charge ; and we proceeded 


on foot across a marshy piece of ground to a big barn, the 
battery about to be assaulted. A little inspection showed 
that this big barn was surrounded by a ditch, that it had 
heavy earthworks, and that through the embrasures loomed 
suspiciously the muzzles of two twenty-four-pounder guns. 
Its occupants had not yet arrived, so we followed the 
fortunes of the enemy, and pursued our way across the 
marsh-ground until we came to Ore Creek, in which lay the 
three little ship-launch gunboats under cover of whose fire 
the attack was to be made. The scene was a strange one ; 
to the left, aground like a stranded whale, stood the hull 
of a brig, now used as the coastguard station, and tenanted 
by the chief boatman, who, with his family and friends, 
was calmly standing in the bows and watching the opera- 
tions. From the shore, gun detachments, all plainly visible 
in the moonlight, were embarking to board the gunboats 
under the lee of the coastguard ship ; the commander of 
the attacking force was silently mustering his men, dealing 
out to them their ammunition, and giving them their final 
instructions. A knot of the local population, principally 
boys and women (the majority were up at the battery), 
stood by in excitement which bordered very closely on 
trepidation ; far out to the left one could perceive the track 
of the little river Swale, and the twinkling lights of the 
Isle of Sheppey ; while the horizon on the left was cut by 
the black spars of a collier brig, curiously suggestive of 
yard-arm execution, and of immediate readiness for the re- 
ception of those smugglers who once abounded in these 
parts, and of whose exploits Thomas Ingoldsby has been 
the pleasantest narrator. 

While the gun detachments were silently stealing to- 
wards the gunboats, which, mastless, black, immobile, lay 
like three porpoises floating side by side in the creek, the 
attacking force, having been properly rested, were divided 
into two parties : one to advance against the battery in 


front, the other to harass it in flank. All seemed to 
promise well for the onslaught ; when, far away in the 
direction of the battery, was seen a flash, followed by a 
tremendous roar, which woke all the echoes of the neigh- 
bourhood ; the invaded were on the look-out, and had 
commenced the action. Forthwith the gunboats came to 
the support of their men, and one after another the little 
six-pounders blazed away with an intermittent fury which 
spoke admirably for the manner in which they were served. 
Under their cover the two portions of the attacking force 
advanced, firing volleys upon the supports of the defenders, 
who were promptly called out. So admirably was all this 
done, that it gave one (I should think) a very fair notion of 
real warfare ; the roar of the guns and the rattle of the 
small-arms were incessant ; through the thick clouds of 
smoke which rolled over the marshes came hoarse words of 
command, all ending in that peculiar bellow which ought 
to convey a great deal to the soldier, as it is utterly unin- 
telligible to the civilian. Happily there were no groans 
of the wounded, the substitute being the faint shrieks and 
Lar'-bless-me's of the female portion of the spectators. At 
first the attacking party carried all before it, and when it 
arrived at the battery beat off the supports, swarmed into 
the ditch through the embrasures, and up into the battery 
itself, to find the enemy retreated and the guns spiked 
But, having learned from a prescient bystander that it was 
not at all unlikely a reverse would take place, I made my 
way by a detour to the top of a hill, where I passed the 
retreated Kent Artillery Volunteers comfortably ensconced 
behind a masked battery, hidden, like Tennyson s ■'•' Talking 
Oak," " to the knees in fem," and awaiting the advent of 
the invaders, who by this time had left the captured 
battery and were pursuing their successful career. 

These devoted youths advanced until they were very 
unpleasantly near the covered muzzles of the guns, when 


they were received with a salvo which, had the guns been 
shotted, certainly would have finished the attacking force. 
They wavered, halted, and then at word of command 
executed a strategic movement of retreat ; which, in plain 
English, looked very like running away. Then the invaded 
ran after them; then the invaded's supports fired after them; 
then the retreating attackers faced about and fired on the 
advancing repellers ; then the gunboats began to boom 
again, the battery guns began to blaze away at the gunboats, 
and the people who were running away ran away a little, 
turned round and fired, and the people who were running 
after them ran forward a little and fired ; and so on, with a 
perpetual roaring and shouting, and running, until the 
attackers had been beaten off, and were supposed to have 
retired to their gunboats, and to be in full sail down Ore 

Now did the local population, finding they were neither 
hanged nor shot nor blown up, as most of them expected, 
overcome the trepidation under which during the attack 
they had laboured, and shout great shouts and roars of joy 
(such as Kentish lungs can alone give vent to), and of 
applause to both parties engaged. Now did the invaders 
return from the creek, and prove by their actual presence 
that they had not sailed away ; and now did they and the 
repellers, both somewhat grimy and sulphurous-smelling, 
fraternise and march back in amity to Faversham ; where, 
in the assembly-rooms, at the expense of the generous 
major, was set forth a great repast of beef and bread and 
beer, which was freely and immediately pitched into by all 
present ; and there was as much interchange of opinions on 
the night's work, of homely jokes and pleasant banterings, 
as full mouths and sharp appetites would permit. Now did 
I return to the coffee-room of the hotel, and finish my 
night's adventure with a glass of grog, and a chat with such 
a specimen of the cheery, honest, quaint old English naval 


officer as it had never been my good luck to meet before, 
and as I had hitherto believed was only to be found in the 
nautical novels of Captain Marryat. 

The night-attack at Faversham was a good thing, well 
conceived, ably planned, well carried out. All drill and no 
amusement makes Jack (or anybody else) a dull volunteer. 
To read, we must learn to spell ; but to be always at spell- 
ing, even in words of four syllables, would be a dreary task. 
The formation of fours, the marching in sections and subdi- 
visions, the manual and platoon, the judging-distance drill, 
etc., are all admirable initiatory exercises ; but to keep 
interest alive in the men, to throw something like a fascina- 
tion round the pursuit, you must give them something more 
than this. This something more is to be found in periodical 
reviews, in out-camping, in sham-fights, in such a special 
manoeuvre as is here recorded. All that was done at Faver- 
sham was on a miniature scale, but the well-arranged pro- 
gramme was kept to the letter, and was carried out with 
signal success. May it be the prelude to larger operations 
of like kind ! 



It does not require one to be much of a philosopher 
broadly to define that we have our partialities as well as our 
dislikes, and that we are generally as irrational in one as the 
other. As the wildest of madmen will talk with perfect 
sense and fluency until asked what has become of Julius 
Caesar, or what soft-soap is made of, when he will suddenly 
break out into rabid fury and incoherent bellowings, so can 
I listen with placid smiles to the narrated idiosyncrasies of 
my friends, meeting each account with placid smile or 
acquiescent shrug ; but if by ill-chance the subject of the 
silent highway be touched upon offensively, I break forth 
and lose my head at once. The Thames is my mania, my 
love for it the absorbing passion of my life. It is the only 
one weapon with which I beat my provincial acquaintances 
and foreign visitors. They come and stay with me, and 
abuse my place of abode. The provincial says he cannot 
breathe, the Frenchman says he has the spleen, the German 
inflates his many-plaited shirt-front, and bellows, "Ach Gott ! 
was fur eine Luft ! " and the Italian sighs heavily, and 
pantomimically searches for the sun. When I show them 
St. Paul's, they shrug, muttering of Notre Dame, of the 
Cologne Dom, of St. Peter's at Rome, of II Duomo at 
Milan ; when I take them through Trafalgar Square they 


roar, immediately instituting comparisons between that 
monstrous national disgrace and the glorious Place de la 
Concorde of Paris, the Unter den Linden, or the Schloss 
Platz of Berlin, the St. Stephen's Platz of Vienna, the 
Piazza di San Pietro at Rome, the Piazza del Granduca at 
Florence, or the Piazza S. Marco at Venice. The Monu- 
ment is a standing joke for them, and all the London 
statues are exquisite themes for ribaldry. They sneer at 
our theatres, they laugh at our church-architecture, they 
are impressed with nothing at all, except it be Madame 
Tussaud's waxwork, until I take them on the Thames. 
Then I hold them ! 

Dirty is Father Thames, I grant ; thick, yellow, turbid, 
occasionally evil-smelling; but I love him none the less. 
I know him where he is pure and cleanly, at near-lying 
Richmond and lock-bound Teddington ; at decorous 
Hampton, and quaint old-fashioned Sunbury and Chertsey ; 
by pretty Maidenhead and quaker Staines ; at Pangbourne, 
Goring, and Streightly, than which three there are not, I 
opine, any lovelier spots in this lovely country ; at monastic 
Medmenham and red-faced Henley, far away down to the 
spot where the banks echo with the time-kept strokes of the 
racing eight, and the river runs merrily past old Oxford 
town. I know him throughout ; but I love him best in his 
own special territory, frowned upon by the great, gaunt, 
black warehouses, the dreary river-side public-houses, the 
huge brewery palaces, the shot-towers, the dock-houses, the 
dim gray Tower of London, the congregationless City 
churches, the clanging factories, the quiet Temple, the 
plate-glass works, the export Scotch and Irish merchants, 
the cheese-factors' premises, the cement-wharves, the sugar 
consignees' counting-houses, the slimy slippery landing- 
places, the atmosphere of which is here sticky with molasses, 
there dusty with flour, and a little way farther off choky 
with particles of floating wool. Make your embankments, 


if you like ; lay down your level road duly granited and 
palisaded off from the river, and lined with buildings of 
equal height and of the same monotonous architecture ; but, 
before you do that, you will have to clear away hundreds of 
little poky dirty streets of a peculiar speciality nowhere else 
to be met with — streets which are as thoroughly maritime 
as Hamilton Moore's Treatise on Navigation, or the bottom 
of a corvette that has been for three years on the West 
India station — streets filled with outfitters, sail-makers, 
ship-chandlers ; bakers of ship-biscuit, makers of ship- 
chronometers, sextants, and quadrants ; sellers of slop 
guernseys, and pea-jackets, and sou'-westers ; lenders of 
money on seamen's advance-notes ; buyers of parrots and 
cockatoos, thin Trichinopoly cheroots, guava jelly, and 
Angostura bitters from home-returning Jack. 

Look at my Thames, Historicus ! and you will have 
little difficulty in calling before your mind's eye the old 
days when she was the Silent Highway for all, from the 
monarch taking water at , Westminster, to the prisoner 
floating in at Traitor's Gate ; when Richard the Second 
floated in his tapestried barge, and seeing Gower the poet, 
called him on board, and bade him "make a book after his 
best," whence arose the Confessio Amantis ; when Wolsey, 
giving up York Place, " took his barge at his privy stairs, 
and so went by water to Putney ; " when Sir Thomas More, 
abandoning his chancellorship and his state, gave up his 
barge and his eight watermen to Sir Thomas Audley, his 
successor ; when James the Second, flying from his throne, 
embarked at Whitehall, as old Evelyn records in his Diary : 
" I saw him take barge — a sad sight." Time after time the 
oars cleave the waters, the swift wherries hurry towards the 
water postern of the Tower, the warder stands erect in the 
bows flouting the thick darkness with his flaming torch, 
the bearded guards lean negligently on their halberds, and 
in the midst sit the prisoners ; now, courtly Essex, or 


grave-faced Raleigh ; now, Northumberland, or vacillating 
Dudley, or gentle Lady Jane Grey. The Traitor's Gate 
opens, and the Constable of the Tower receives them at the 
stairs; then the hurried trial, the sentence, and the early 
morning when the black-visored headsman does his work. 

As in a dissolving view, gone is the grim old Traitor's 
Gate ; and in its place rises a rotunda with a Doric portico, 
an arcade, and a gallery outside, a Venetian pavilion in the 
centre of a lake, and grounds planted with trees and alle'es 
verts. This is Ranelagh, and the Silent Highway is silent 
no longer, bearing the chattering company thither on its 
bosom. " The prince, princess, duke, much nobility, and 
much mob besides are there." My Lord Chesterfield is so 
fond of it that he has ordered all his letters to be directed 
thither. Dr. Arne composes the music for a concert ; fire- 
works and a mimic Etna are introduced. A mask taps Sir 
Roger de Coverley on the shoulder, and begs to drink a 
bottle of mead with him ; and Dr. Johnson — surly Sam 
himself — delivers that " the coiip-d'ceil is the finest thing he 
has ever seen." The Silent Highway itself is broad, and 
clear, and wholesome, covered by gay wherries manned by 
jolly young watermen, all of whom are " first oars " with 
those fine City ladies who go to Ranelagh and Vauxhall, 
and all of whom row so neat and scull so steadily (albeit 
thinking of nothing at all), that the maidens all flock to 
their boats, and they are never in want of a fare. 

But the prompter's bell sounds, and through the Venetian 
pavilion, already half faded, I see the outline of Hungerford 
pier, with the ticket-sellers' boxes and the advertisement 
hoarding ; in place of the trees and the alle'es verts are the 
black or chequered funnels of steamers, mincing conversa- 
tion of beaux and belles is drowned in a roar of " Grin- 
nidge, Woollidge — this way for Nine Ellums !" The rapidly- 
decomposing heads and dresses of the jolly young water- 
men dwindle down into the small whole-length of a wiry 


boy, who, with his eye on the captain's pantomimic finger, 
shrieks out with preternatural shrillness, "Turn a' starn !" 

Yes, this is what it has all come to ! The ancient 
Britons and their coracles, the middle ages and their 
romance of black boats and halberdiers and prisoners, and 
torches and Traitor's Gate, the Queen Anne times of hoops 
and powder, periwigs and cocked hats, rapiers and Rane- 
lagh, all come down to a pea-soup atmosphere, a tidal 
sewer edged with bone-boiling and tallow-melting premises, 
and lashed into dull yellow foam by the revolving paddles 
of the iron steamboats of the Watermen and Citizen Com- 
panies, plying every three minutes. The jolly young water- 
man, who used to row along thinking of nothing at all, is 
now compelled to think a good deal of the management of 
his craft, lest she should come in contact with others, or 
with bridge-piers, and be incontinently sunk. Enormous 
barges, so helpless and unwieldy that one doubts the pos- 
sibility of their ever being got home, still cumber Thames's 
broad bosom ; light skiffs dot the surface from Putney to 
Twickenham ; pretty yachts dodge about the Erith and 
Greenhithe reaches ; snorting little tugs struggle frantically 
as they drag big East Indiamen down to the Nore ; but still 
the real Silent Highwaymen nowadays are the passenger 

The river steamboat traffic may be divided into the 
above and below bridge; for, though some of the Green- 
wich boats proceed as high as Hungerford, the chief por- 
tion of their trade lies between London Bridge and their 
point of destination, while none of the Chelsea boats are 
seen east of London Bridge. The above-bridge traffic is 
conducted by the boats of the Citizen and the Iron Steam- 
boat Company, working in harmony and sharing " times." 
Their management is, I believe, excellent ; but in this 
paper I shall confine myself to speaking of the Watermen's 
Company's fleet, which is the largest and the longest estab- 


lished on the river. Forty years ago, when the inhabitants 
of Greenwich had occasion to visit London, they were 
conveyed to and fro in boats with covered awnings, rowed 
by a pair of oars, in which, at a charge of sixpence each, 
they were brought to Tower stairs : those going by land had 
the privilege of paying eighteenpence for a ride in a slow 
and very stuffy omnibus, while Woolwich residents had to 
get to Greenwich as best they could, and thence proceed 
either by land or water conveyance. As Greenwich extended 
and the power of steam became known, the watermen of 
Greenwich formed themselves into a company, and started 
one or two steamboats ; one opposition company did the 
same, a fraternity at Woolwich followed in the track, and 
the opposition became tremendous. All these boats started 
from the same piers at the same time, and the happy captain 
was he who could cleverly cut into his adversary, knock off 
her paddle-box, and thus disable her for several days' trip. 
This state of things could not last long, the Greenwich 
Company " caved in," the Watermen's and the Woolwich 
Company entered into amicable arrangement, and thence- 
forward ran in concord. 

These two companies own thirteen boats each ; the 
total number of river steamboats plying on the Thames 
between Gravesend and Richmond being about sixty. The 
boats belonging to the Watermen's Company average about 
ninety tons each ; each measures about a hundred and 
sixteen feet in length, fourteen feet in width, and eight feet 
in depth. All are built of iron, manufactured in the com- 
pany's own yard at Woolwich, where about seventy artificers 
are in constant employment : in addition to which force, the 
company has about sixty men afloat, and eighteen collectors 
of tickets or supervisors. Each boat has a crew consisting 
of a captain, a mate, two men, a call-boy, an engineer, and 
a stoker. With the exception of the engineers and stokers, 
all these men must be free watermen (an Act of Parliament 


accords to the Watermen's Company the privilege of de- 
manding that all the crews of passenger-carrying vessels 
must be watermen), and all work up, in regular rotation, 
from the post of call-boy to that of captain. This alone 
secures that intimate knowledge of the river, and that 
incessant vigilance, which is absolutely necessary for the 
protection of life ; the call-boy is apprenticed to the captain 
generally, and rises by gradual steps from the bottom of the 
paddle-box to the top of it, from watching the captain's 
fingers and explaining his pantomime to the engineer, to 
twiddling his own fingers and commanding the boat. Every- 
where, except in the engine-room, the captain is supreme, 
and even the engineer is bound implicitly to obey the cap- 
tain's orders as to the speed and direction of the vessel. 
Liberal wages are paid ; the captain receives two guineas a 
week, the engineer the same, the mate has thirty shillings, 
the men six-and-twenty, the boy seven ; and this is not too 
much, when it is remembered that about fourteen hours 
daily is the average attendance required of each. 

The expenses attendant on the management of such a 
company are very large. In addition to the weekly wages 
just detailed, it may be reckoned that the primary cost of 
each boat, exclusive of repairs, is five thousand pounds, 
while the pierage-dues are enormous. At the piers held by 
the Thames Conservancy the company have to pay sums 
averaging from one penny to sixpence for every time their 
boats call, while at other piers they are charged amounts 
varying from four shillings and sixpence to seven shillings 
and sixpence for every hundred passengers landing. Thus 
they disburse between three and four thousand a year in 
pier-dues ; the rent of the Greenwich landing-stage, which 
belongs to a company, is alone two thousand pounds a 
year. With all these disbursements, the company pay a 
dividend of five per cent. A complaint of drunkenness or 
incivility against those employed by them is unknown ; and 
such good feeling exists, that the masters now invite the 


men to an annual supper, at which great conviviality reigns, 
and the highest mutual respect is expressed. 

Here is a little bit of the history of my modern silent 
highwaymen. Come, Monsieur, Herr, or Signor, and show 
me anything like it in the countries where you dwell. 




Peter Simple. 
The King's Own. 
Midshipman Easy. 
Rattlin the Reeftr. 
Pacha of Many Tales. 
Newton Forster. 
Taeob Faithful. 
The Dog Fiend. 
Japhet in Search of a 

The Poacher. 
The Phantom Ship. 
Percival Keene. 

Frank Mildmay. 
Olla Podrida. 
Monsieur Violet. 
The Pirate and Three 


Windsor Castle. 
Tower of London. 
The Miser's Daughter. 
Old St. Paul's. 
Guy Fawkes. 
The Spendthrift. 
James the Second. 
Star Chamber. 
Flitch of Bacon. 
Lancashire Witches. 
Mervyn Clitheroe. 
Ovingdean Grange. 
St. James's. 
Jack Sheppard. 


The Pilot. 

Last of the Mohicans. 
The Pioneers. 
The Red Rover. 
The Spy. 
Lionel Lincoln. 
The Deerslayer. 
The Pathfinder. 
The Bravo. 
The Waterwitch. 
Two Admirals. 


Afloat and Ashore. 


Eve Effingham. 

Miles Wallingford. 

The Headsman. 

The Prairie. 

Homeward Bound. 

The Borderers. 

The Sea Lions. 


Oak Openings. 

Mark's Reef. 

Ned Myers. 

The Heidenmauer. 

Three Musketeers. 

Twenty Years After. 

Dr. Basilius. 

The Twin Captains. 

Captain Paul. 

Memoirs of a Phy- 
sician, 2 vols. (is. 

The Chevalier de 
Maison Rouge. 

The Queen's Necklace. 

Countess de Charny. 

Monte Cristo, 2 vols. 


The Two Dianas. 

The Black Tulip. 

Forty-five Guardsmen. 

Taking of the Bastile, 
2 vols. (is. each). 

Chicot the Jester. 

The Conspirators. 


Page of the Duke of 

Isabel of Bavaria. 

Beau Tancrede. 

Regent's Daughter. 




Russian Gipsy. 

The Watchmaker. 


Munster Festival. 

The Rivals. 

The Colleen Bawn. 


Jane Sinclair. 
The Clarionet. 
The Tithe Proctor. 
The Emigrants. 


The Scarlet Letter. 
Tha House of the 

Seven Gables. 
Mosses from an Old 


By Various Authors. 

Ju'ie de Bourg. 
Lilias Davenant. 
Soldier of Fortune. 
Compulsory Marriage. 
Young Prima Donna. 
Stories of Waterloo. 
The Divorced. 
Violet, the Danseuse. 
Kindness in Women. 
The Old Commodore. 
The Albatross. 
Cinq Mars. 
Zingra, the Gipsy. 
The Little Wife. 
Adelaide Lindsay. 
The Family Feud. 
Nothing but Money. 
Tom Jones 
A Week with Mos?oo, 

by C. Ross. 
Out for a Holiday with 

Cook, by Sketchlcy. 
Sterne's Works. 
Mountaineer of the At- 
las, by W 5. Mayo. 
Reminiscences of a 

Mysteries of Udolpho. 

Complete Edition. 
Log of the Water Li'y 

in Three Cruises. 
Through the Keyhole, 

by J. M. Jephson. 

Published by George Routledge and Sons. 


By Capt. MARRY AT. 

Peter Simple. 
King's Own. 
Newton Forster. 
Jacob Faithful. 
Frank Mildmay. 
Pacha of Many Tales, 
Japhet in Search of a 

Mr. Midshipman Easy, 
The Dog Fiend. 
The Phantom Ship. 
Olla Podrida. 
The Poacher. 
Percival Keene. 
Monsieur Violet. 
Rattlin the Reefer. 


The Waterwitch. 

The Pathfinder. 

The Deerslayer. 

Last of the Mohicans. 

The Pilot. 

The Prairie. 

Eve Effingham. 

The Spy. 
The Red Rover. 
Homeward Bound. 
Two Admirals. 
Miles Wallingford. 
The Pioneers. 
Lionel Lincoln. 
Afloat and Ashore. 
The Bravo. 
The Sea Lions. 
The Headsman. 
Oak Openings. 
The Heidenmauer. 
Mark's Reef. 

Ned Myers. 
The Borderers, 
Jack Tier. 


Guy Mannering. 

The Antiquary. 


Fortunes of Nigel. 

Heart of Midlothian. 

Bride of Lammermoor. 


Rob Roy. 


The Pirate. 

The Monastery. 

Old Mortality. 

Peveril of the Peak. 
Quentin Durward. 
St. Ronan's Well. 
The Abbot. 
The Black Dwarf. 
Anne of Geierstein. 
The Betrothed. 
Fair Maid of Perth. 
The Surgeon's Daugh- 
ter, &c. 
The Talisman. 
Count Robert of Paris. 
Red Gauntlet. 

By Various Authors. 

Artemus Ward, his 

Artemus Ward, his 

Nasby Papers. 
Major Jack Downing. 
Biglow Papers. 
Orpheus C. Kerr. 
Robinson Crusoe. 

Uncle Tom's Cabin. 
Colleen Bawn. 
Vicar of Wakefield. 
Sketch Book, by 

Sterne's Tristram 


English Opium Eater. 
The Essays of Eiia. 
Notre Dame. 
Roderick Random. 
The Autocrat of the 

Breakfast Table. 
Tom Jones, vol. i. 

vol. 2. 


Gulliver's Travels. 
The Wandering Jew 
(TheTransgression) . 
(The Chastise- 
(The Redemp- 
The Mysteries of Paris : 



The Lamplighter. 
The Professor at the 

Breakfast Table. 
Last Essays of Elia. 
Hans Breitmann. 
Biglow Papers, 2nd ser. 
Josh Billings. 
Romance of the Forest, 

by Mrs. Radcliffe. 
The Italian, by ditto. 
Mysteries of Udolpho, 
by Mrs. Radcliffe, 
vol. I. 

vol. 2. 

The Shadowless Man. 

Published by George Routledge and Sons. 

Printed on good paper, and bound in pictuie "D:a:\.s. 


"Capital Novels, well worth double the price asked for them.'' 


1 Agatha's Husband 


2 Head of the Family 

Author of "JOHN HALIFAX" 

5 The Ogilvies Mrs. Ckaik 
7 Olive : a Novel 

Author of " JOHN HALIFAX " 

17 Jack HintonCHAELEsLEVEE 
22 Harry Lorreauer C. Levee 
27 The O'Donoghue C Levee 
32 The Fortunes of Glencore 


35 One of Them C. Lever 

38 Mary Seaham 

Author of " GAMBLER'S WIFE" 

39 A Clever Woman's Adven- 

tures Mrs. Teollope 

41 Charles Auchester 

Author of " MY FIRST SEASON " 

48 Sir Jasper Carew C. Levee 
52 Young Heiress 


0; A Day's Ride ; a Life's 
Romance Charles Levee 

51 Maurice Tiernay C. Levee 
5-' Master of the Hounds 
London: CHAPMAN & HALL. 


63 Hunchback of Notre-Dame 


66 Elsie Venner 0. W. Holmes 

67 Charlie Thornhill 


"2 Country Gentleman 


73 Barrington Charles Lever 
77 Woman's Ransom 


80 Tilbury Nogo 


81 Queen of the Seas 


82 He Would be a Gentleman 


83 Under the Spell 


85 Doctor Thorne A.Trollope 
8G Macdermots of Eai'.ycloran 


88 Rachel Ray A. Teollope 

89 Luttrell of Arran C. Levee 

92 Irish Stories and Legends 


93 TheKellysandtheO'Kellys 


94 Married Beneath Him 


Sold by all Booksllllks. [iVrrr 

The Select Library of Fiction. 


95 Tales of all Countries 


96 Castle Richmond 


100 The Bertrams A.Teollopb 
106 Slaves of the Ring 


ill One-and-Twenty 


111 Theo Leigh Annie Thomas 
H8 Denis Donne A. Thomas 
119 Forlorn Hope E. Yates 

121 Ned LocksleyT.CHEAMsiDE 

122 Miss Mackenzie 


123 Carry's Confession 

Author of "MATTIE" 

125 Belton Estate A. Trollope 

126 Land at Last E. Yates 

128 Crumbs from a Sportsman's 
Table C. C. Clarke 

131 Christie's Faith 

Author of " MATTIE " 

134 Called to Account 


137 Never Forgotten 


138 Clyffards of Clyffe 


139 Which is the Winner? 


140 Archie Lovell 


141 Lizzie Lorton Mrs. Linton 

144 Uncle Silas J. S. Lefanu 

145 Bar Sinister C. A. Collins 
152 Mirk Abbey James Payn 
157 Lord Falconberg's Heir 


159 Secret Dispatch J. Grant 
162 All in the Dark J.S.Lefanu 


171 Two Marriages Mrs.CRAiK 

177 Tenants of Malory 

j. s. lefanu 

191 A County Family 

JAMES payn 

193 Rent in a Cloud C. Leveb 

195 Geoffry Hamlyn 


196 Ravenshoe H. Kingsley 

197 Hillyars and Burtons 


198 Silcote of Silcotes 


199 Leighton Court 


200 Austin Elliot H.Kingsley 
203 Ralph the Heir 


206 Woman's Devotion Author 


210 Castaway Edmund Yates 
2U Sir Brook Fossbrooke 


212 Aunt Margaret's Trouble 


213 Bramleighs Charles Lever 
225 Tony Butler C. Lever 

227 That Boy of Norcott's 


228 Lord Kiigobbin 


229 Cornelius O'Dowd 


231 Charley Nugent Author of 


232 Morley Court 

Author of " UNCLE SILAS" 

234 A Passion in Tatters 


242 La Vendee A. Tro^lope 
244 Lady Anna A. Trollope 

261 On the Line (Is.) 


262 Tales of the .rains (Is.) 


The Select Library of Fiction. 


268 He Cometh Not, She Said 


270 Hagarene 

Author of " GUY LIVINGSTONE " 

273 Lost for Gold K King 

274 No Alternative A. Thomas 

275 Colonel Dacre 

Author of "CASTE" 

276 For Love and Life 


277 Last of the Mortimers 


278 My Son's Wife 

Author of " OASTE " 

279 Beautiful Edith Author of 


280 Squire Arden 


283 Queen of the Regiment 


284 Wild Georgie 


286 First in the Field Author of 


287 Pearl Author of " CASTE " 

288 A Point of Honour 


289 White House by the Sea 


291 Entanglements 

Author of "OASTE" 

292 At Her Mercy James Payn 

293 Caste Author of " Pearl " 

294 Off the Line 


295 Ladies of Lovel Leigh 

Author of "THREE WIVES" 

296 Madonna Mary 


298 Miss Carew 


299 Olympus to Hades 


300 Vicar of Bullhampton 


302 Three Wives Author of 


303 Book of Heroines Author of 


305 Fair Women 



306 Father Godfrey 

Author of "ANNE DYSART" 

307 Monsieur Maurice 


308 Sacristan's Household 


310 Queen of Herself A. King 

311 Sun and Shade Author of 


312 Ursula's Love Shory 

Author of "SUN AND SHADE" 

313 Wild Flower of Eavens- 


314 Lords and Ladies Author of 


315 Lisabee's Love Story 


317 Harry Muir Mrs. Oliphant 

318 Gold Elsie E. Marlitt 

320 Humorous Stories 


321 Broken Bonds H. Smart 

322 Narrow Escape A. Thomas 
324 Two Kisses H. Smart 

326 A Charming Fellow 


327 Willing to Die J.S.Lefanu 

328 False Cards HawleySmart 

329 Squire of Beechwood 

" scrutator " 

330 Clara Levesque W.Gilbert 

331 Checkmate J. S. Lefanu 

333 Magdalen Hepburn 


334 House on the Moor 


335 Cardinal Pole 


337 Veronica E. F. Trollope 

338 Blotted Out A. Thomas 
341 House of Elmore 


344 La Beata T. A. Trollopb 

345 Misrepi*esentation 


347 Mainstone's Housekeeper 


The Select Library of Fiction. 


348 Foster Brothers J. Payn.. 

352 Paul Ferroll Author of 


353 Wild Hyacinth 


357 Three Chances 

Author of " THE FAIR CAREW " 

359 Courtship hawley smart 

360 Condoned Anna C. Steele 

361 Bound to Win H. Smart 

363 Gardenhurst A. C.Steele 

364 Cecile Hawley Smart 

365 Sir Harry Hotspur 


366 Chetwynd Calverley 


367 Race for a Wife H. Smart 

368 Leaguer of Lathora 

w. h. ainsworth 

369 Spanish Match 


370 Constable de Bourbon 



371 Old Court W.H.Ainsworth 

372 Nuts and Nutcrackers 


373 Myddleton Pomfret 


374 Hilary St, Ives 


375 Play or Pay Hawley Smart 

376 A Laggard in Love 


377 Lucy Crof ton Mrs.OLiPHANT 
379 All for Greed 


381 My Heart's in the High- 


382 Sunshine and Snow 

HAWLEY smart 

383 Broken Toys 


384 Kelverdale Earl Desart 

385 Gertrude: or. Family Pride 


386 Is he Popenjoy? 



18 Charles O'Malley 


20 The Daltons 


23 Knight of Gwynne 


25 Dodd Family Abroad 


28 Tom Burke 


30 Davenport Dunn 


33 RoLnd Cashel 


42 Martins of Cro' Martin 


87 Lindisfarn Chase 


May, 1879. 

London: CHAPMAN & 

116 Orley Farm 


120 Can you Forgive Her ? 


186 Phineas Finn 


187 He Knew He Was Right 


243 Eustace Diamonds 


267 Phineas Redux 


319 Forgotten by the World 


362 Prime Minister 


. ■•78 Wizard of the Mountain 


ss) Doctor Austin's Guests 



A Series of 'the most Popular American Works, in fancy covers, is. each. 

Messrs. George Routledge & Sons are my only authorised London 
Publishers. — (Signed) Mark Twain. 


The Celebrated Jumping Frog. 
Author's edition, with a Copy- 
right Poem. 

Roughing It (copyright). 

The Innocents at Home (copy- 

Mark Twain's Curious Dream 

The Innocents Abroad. 

The New Pilgrim's Progress. 

Information Wanted, and 

The Luck of Roaring Camp, with 

a Preface by Tom Hood. 
Bret Harte's Poems (complete). 
Mrs. Skaggs's Husbands. 
Condensed Novels. 
An Episode of Fiddletown. 
The Fool of Five Forks. 
Wan Lee, the Pagan. 
Thankful Blossom. 
A Summer Sheaf. 


The Hoosier Schoolmaster. 

The End of the World. 

The Mystery of Metropolisville. 

Maum Guinea, by Mrs. Victor. 

Life in Danbury. 

My Opinions, and Betsy Bobbits. 

Farm Ballads, by Carleton. 

Out of the Hurly Burly, by Max 

Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. 
Artemus Ward : His Book — His 

Eastern Fruit on Western Dishes. 
First Families of the Sierras. 
Biglow Papers, ist and 2nd series. 
Cloth of Gold, by T. B. Aldrich. 
Helen's Babies, by One of their 

Elbow Room, by Max Adeler. 

The Barton Bvperimenf, by the 

Author of Helen's Babies. 
Jericho Road, by the same Author. 
Some Other Babies, Very Like 

Helen's, only More So. 
The Man who was Not a Colonel, 

by a High Private. 
Dot and Dime : Two Characters 

in Ebony. 
The Poet at the Breakfast Table. 

By O. W. Holmes. 
The Scripture Club of Valley 

Other People's Children. 
That Husband of Mine. 
The Four Inexpressibles. 

Two Shilling Volumes. 

Roughing It, and the Innocents 

at Home. 
MaTk Twain's Sketches. 
The Innocents Abroad, and the 

New Pilgrim's Progress. 
The Celebrated Jumping Frog, 

and the Curious Dream. 
Prose and Poetry, by Bret Harte. 
Holmes's Poet at the Breakfast 

Holmes's Elsie Venner. 
Condensed Novels, and Mrs. 

Skaggs's Husbands. 
The Circuit Rider, by Eggleston. 
Arthur Bonnicastle, by Dr. Hol- 
The Gilded Age, a novel, by Mark 

Twain and C. D. Warner. 
Josh Billings' Wit and Humour. 
Prudence Palfrey, by T. B. 

Aldrich . 
Marjorie Daw, by T. B. Aldrich. 
Helen's Babies.and Other People's 

Mr. Miggs of Danbury, by J. M. 

Some Folks, by Author of Helen's 


Published bv George Routledge and Sons. 



3 $**% 


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qr. m 

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Al! I 

■ - 
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How - 

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Functions- Pi 

unfolded— : itn : ,p j 

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to the Death o( li 

of the Intelligent Principle. 

i health, and 
ouspi Dr.Ri 

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nt ai thor, Sheridan 

: ~" Tt will be an in- 
persqti u ft com 
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the Dyspeptic, or tho 

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•id on I 
sive Joy — Angi : p 

Sudden Surpri 
— Hot Relaxing Fluid 
Eatingaud Drinking — Spirits u 
— Loss of Blood — Impure Air. 



A clergyman, writing to Dr. Rooke, 

undei Life July 15th, 1874, speaking of the 

ANTl-L*NCET,_says:— "Qf it., style und 

if I 1 VG been an 

autlio irty years. 

' neri could 

ur introduc- 

m - i: , i lelineation I 

.oi • In ie, ai 

ic and the 
spiritu in I .1." 



*•* ^TI-LANCET 4 

the Destructive 

, ice ( 

■stinted by the 

. t ■ 

Suiter Scott, 


l Gavour, Gene- 

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MEDICINE, ,:. 'atis of ail 

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' W the last Edition, containing 172 pages.